Around this time last year I was in a hospital room holding my Grandpa Hollie’s
hand. (I’m named after him and we’re very close—you’ll be hearing more about
him.) He’d just been through triple bypass surgery and a valve replacement
at age 86.
We didn’t know how the surgery would turn out. I remember sitting in the hospital
room and counting each breath he took as if they were precious jewels. Each one
meant I got to keep him with me another moment.
A couple of months ago I got back from a trip to Yellowstone with Grandpa Hollie
(or “Poppi” as I usually call him). You can see us in the picture. He’s wearing his
brand new “snow cap” because we got an unexpected six inches of snow that day. We barely talked him out of a “coon skin cap” that was “just like the ones Davey
Crockett used to wear.”
After his surgery, Poppi went to an assisted living center for physical therapy and
recovery. When I asked him about his stay he said, “There were people at the
place who lived with a fear of falling. They used walkers when they didn’t even
need them. When they asked me if I was afraid of falling I’d say, ‘Nope, falling
isn’t even in my vocabulary.’ ”
Through faith, hope, and outright stubbornness, my Poppi is with us today and
going strong. He’s a greeter at church, the president of his neighborhood
association, an active member of the Gideons, a regular visitor to the juvenile
delinquent center in his town, and the official hugger of everyone he meets.
When I think of hope, Grandpa Hollie’s face is the first one I see. And thanks to
God’s grace, I plan on seeing that silly smile in person many more times this side