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16 July 2009

21 Old Mil Salute

My grandpa passed away early Sunday morning. While it would have been nice for him to meet this baby, I was pretty satisfied that he lived long enough to know of this baby (let alone attend my wedding, know of graduation, be a long distance participant in house projects, etc.). He told me before our wedding that he would probably be dead and not be able to come and I said "We'll see," so when he told me that about being gone before this baby's birth, he got the same response. I do know that this is truly what he has been wanting since my grandma passed away almost 3 1/2 years ago, so for him, this was a very good thing.

Tuesday was the viewing and upon getting there, we found my grandpa in stripped bib overalls (that he had purchased for expressly this purpose years ago for $6.95), in a John Deere casket (Nothing runs like a Deere), with a funeral spray that had been adorned with construction tools (a hammer, giant pencil, tape measure, rulers, etc.), with a great grandkid boquet of M&Ms and ice cream cones nearby. Perfect. If that weren't personal enough, there was Old Milwaukee beer in the back to toast Gpa Norris with as that was a favorite of his (there's no accounting for taste, but let me tell you I was not crushed to have to decline - for the sake of my child).

Wednesday after the funeral service where memories were shared, my favorite through Heidi's "Where I'm From" poem, we headed out to the cemetary. After the brief service led by the pastor, my Uncle Dave announced that there would be a special toast to Norris, so hold tight. I sat there underneath the oak trees in this peaceful cemetary that my grandma, uncle, a plaque for my brother, and now my grandpa rest at almost laughing at the sound of people cracking in to cans of Old Mil. There was a toast to my grandpa and my uncle Maynard, who would have been 73 that same day. Later, we sang Happy Birthday for Maynard.

It was what a funeral should be - very personal with a good balance of laughter and tears. So next time you have an Old Mil, take a moment to think of my grandpa, or at least his 6 kids, most of his 19 grandkids, many great grandkids, and great grandson toasting him in a cemetary. It should bring a smile to your face too.


  1. Katie, I am so sorry to hear about your grandfather, but so glad that you all have so many wonderful memories of him! I'm honored to have been able to meet him once.