My Grandpa Fred was a carpenter.  A union man, husband, father, grandfather, and a Lutheran. Fred grew up in St. Lois on the banks of the Mississippi. Before “the Great War” Grandpa spent springtimes shagging fly balls for the St. Louis Browns. In summer, he would hop a freight train and “go on the bum.” He served as a medic in WWI. Some of his war experiences in Europe where horrific, but he moved past them. He was stoic but cheerful. Grandpa married my divorced Grandma (he was also divorced) during the Depression. They met at a dance in San Bernardino. When she knew they were “getting serious,” she asked him, “Do you like kids?” “Sure.”  “Good, I have a little a boy.” He laughed and she quickly added, “I have a little girl, too.” Grandma and Grandpa raised my Dad and Aunt Jean on his rambling Orange Ranch in Riverside. He was joyful and caring with grandkids or strangers.  Masculine, old fashioned.  As much as anyone he taught me what it means to be a Christian man.

by Nathaniel