Tag Archives: Granite Face

The day of my grandfather’s funeral.

John PetersJust before Christmas 2013, my grandfather passed away. I read the following at his memorial service.

I did not know the same John Peters you did. When you’re children, your parents are superheroes; it just so happens that mine still are. Your grandparents are beings of even greater power and mystery.

Grandpa was made of granite, stern-faced and serious, with impenetrable eyes of steely blue. Even a child could tell his approval was hard to win. He was the last person I wanted to admit weakness to. So when I was severely sunburned after a day wakeboarding on the lake, crying in pain, grandpa was the last person whose help I wanted.

But children rarely get a say in such matters, so it was grandpa who helped me. Wary of disappointing him, I composed my cries to mere sniffles. But grandpa gave no reprimand, no recrimination. He simply took care of me, massaging aloe into my scorched skin, his hands as gentle as any I’ve ever known.

Grandpa constantly shaped the world to his vision, whether he was running a restaurant, building a house or uprooting trees. That particular day, his vision was to heal his grandson.

I said before that grandpa was serious, but that is only half the story. Grandpa was more prone to issue proclamations than mere opinions, his eyes full of blue fire, holding my gaze, daring me to challenge him. Then the corners of his mouth would twitch, his eyes would crinkle, and ever so gradually, a huge grin would split that granite face.

While I remember grandpa as stern and ambitious, he had moments of great tenderness and great humor.

Perhaps his greatest fault was having too much vision, and never enough time.