It was with great honor that we were able to visit Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. It is there that my grandfather, Paul MacDonald Skinner and his beloved wife, my grandmother, Ruth Evangeline Hamlin Skinner have their ashes at rest. Grandpa Paul was a Lieutenant Colonial in the United States Air Force. He served our country for 26 years, fought in WWII where he flew the very first daylight raid on Berlin and was blessed to survive. He was a base commander, deputy base commander (England) and served in various squadrons as commander (800+ men in one of them).
|This photo of me and my grandma hangs in our camper today|
But Paul was so much more than that to me. He taught me how to cook. Not just the simple stuff either, but he taught me Thanksgiving dinner! He taught me how to drive on the highways ... when I was 14. He was a farmer at heart ... he raised a few beef cattle the old fashioned way: on grass. He grew enough food to put up for winter and have a harvest for his church come fall. He taught me the joy of camping - he built his own camper from the chassis up. I went on my first camping trip with my parents and grandparents when I was about 6 months old. It was through him I learned the value of a "captive audience" - car rides with the kids.
He taught me that it was OK for girls to be handy and gave us kids little tools as gifts (grandma always had grandma treats too). He built his house with his hands and help from a few neighbors. He was quite the investor and taught us both how to save for the future and how to give generously.
He was hard of hearing from all those flights, but he didn't let that stop him. He taught me - and many others - that you are never too old to learn new things. In his 80's he learned how to use a computer and email with his family and others as well.
Grandpa Paul was truly a renaissance man and is missed. It was with great joy that we had the fortune to visit his ashes final resting spot. We know that is not where he is and that we will see him again someday, but it was still a nice remembrance.
Grandpa Paul was famous for saying, "A coward dies a thousand deaths, a brave man only once." I try to remember that as challenges come my way. Back down or dive in and attack. It's a choice.
I am sure that one of the first things he heard on his passing was, "Well done good and faithful servant." We couldn't agree more.