**I wrote this yesterday, June 18th. Grandpa Floyd left this world to be with Jesus this morning. He was 89. He had just been moved into the hospice care of a Woodland assisted living center to be observed to determine his needed level of care. He will be greatly missed and I pray that through his passing, many would come to know Jesus.**
My Grandpa Floyd is turning 90 in a few weeks. 90!! I have been thinking about him a lot and wanted to write about him.
Floyd Wilbur Bales was born July 7th, 1919, I believe in Wyoming. He is my dad's father. In 1919 cars were rare and seatbelts were even more so. When he was less than a year old, he was riding in a car on his mom's lap when they got in an accident and was thrown from the car. He survived (obviously, otherwise I wouldn't be here), sustaining a head injury that left him with cerebral palsy. Because of his disability, he did not fight during World War II as other young men in his generation did. He married Lucy, my dad's mother, in Wyoming and was a mail carrier as a career. He had three children with Lucy: Danny, Suzanne, and my dad Philip. My dad is 10 and 8 years younger than his older siblings and "the baby." When my dad was maybe 10, his parents divorced and Floyd moved with my dad to Washington. In Washington Floyd married a widow with at least 7 children (I can't remember how many exactly), Harriet. My dad was still the youngest, but now to a much larger family. Floyd and Harriet had a son together, Chris.
One thing I remember about Grandpa Floyd is his faith. Grandpa always went to church and always prayed before dinner. It's running joke in our family that Grandpa prays for a very long time, which he does, but as I've grown older I've really come to appreciate his prayers because they are extremely honoring to Jesus. Grandpa also raised geese for eggs. I remember visiting him in his house in Woodland, WA and they had a big backyard with a big tire to climb on, a fort, and some geese running around. He also had "Pong" on the TV and my brother and I loved to play it. Grandma Harriet always made the best oatmeal for breakfast. She'd add a little butter to it in the bowl and it was the best. I like butter in my oatmeal now, mostly because it reminds me of Grandma and Grandpa's house.
When he turned 75 my parents threw him a surprise birthday party at Old Country Buffet in Longview. I remember making signs for him that said, "Man alive, he's 75!" and my aunt and uncle, Suzanne and Danny, came out from Wyoming. Grandpa also loved to take driving vacations, often cross-country back to Wyoming or Illinois to visit his sister.
Grandma and Grandpa were active in their church and even did a long-term mission to the southwest to work at a Christian American Indian school. He often had American Indian artwork and trinkets in their home. I think he really loved working at that school. Even after Grandpa retired, he continued to work a few hours a week. Sometimes he would volunteer at a hospital or at the library. I remember he took an intro computer class even.
Grandpa was very involved in our lives when David and I were growing up. He would come to soccer games and football games. I specifically remember when he and my Grandpa Bob came down for one of David's football games. He wore one of David's jersies and did a cheer with the other fathers and grandfathers after the game. When I graduated from high school he gave me a copy of "The Pilgrim's Progress." I had never read it, until recently I started it. I'm sad I didn't pick it up sooner. It's a classic and chock full of theology. I wish I could discuss it with him.
Two years ago, Grandpa was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and chose not to receive treatment. The last several years have been very difficult for him as he has tried to control the growths the cancer has caused. My parents have spent a lot of time helping him. Grandpa has also gradually lost his hearing.
I am very thankful that he has joined us for family dinners over the past few years. He came to visit for Thanksgiving about 2 years ago, then again for the following Easter. He also came for Caley's 3rd birthday party. Last Thanksgiving was celebrated at my parent's house in Astoria and Grandma and Grandpa came too. I won't very soon forget that meal.
Grandpa Floyd is nearing the end of his life, a hard life, a full life, and I don't doubt that when he sees Jesus he will certainly hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).