What better way to (re)kick-off my blog by writing a post about one of my personal heroes?
Grandpa Blaine turns 95 today! He’s kind of a big deal in my extended family. He’s a personal hero for myself and many of his 10 kids, 50+ grand kids, and who knows how many great-grand kids, I can only guess well over 100. At least a dozen or more of his offspring have been named him – including my own son Jared Blaine. My brother Luke broke protocol and actually gave his youngest son the 1st name of Blaine.
In celebration of his birthday today I wanted to share one of my childhood memories of Grandpa. While growing up my extended family had a tradition of driving down to Mexico and camping on the beach during Christmas vacation. We would visit the same location every year – a very secluded beach in San Carlos Bay that could only be accessed by very rough dirt roads. Its on the mainland side of the Gulf of California, about 6 hours south of the Arizona border. When I was about 8 years old, we were on our 2nd annual visit to Mexico (my family would go nearly 20 times), and I was making a homemade slingshot to shoot at the cacti and all various soda bottles we had sitting around camp. I found a perfect Y-shaped branch, cut notches in the top, and I even had surgical hose as an elastic. I recall Grandpa Blaine watching me make it, and he offered to tie the hose onto the slingshot for me. He asked if I had any material to use as the pouch to hold the rock. I didn’t, and without the slightest hesitation he pulled out his pocket knife, took off the very grey leather sneakers he was wearing on his feet, and cut his shoes into strips for pouches. He tied one on my slingshot, and gave me a few more so some of my brothers and cousins could make slingshots as well.
I recall being shocked that he would do that. I thought in my mind “a slingshot is not worth cutting up your nice shoes”. I’ve remembered his selflessness frequently and fondly to this day. Only reason I can think that he did it, is that he was probably keenly aware of the great joy a simple slingshot can bring to a young boy out in the middle of nowhere, with the whole world to shoot at.
I’m so very proud to call him my Grandpa. I’m proud of the great example he’s been to so many of us – and I wish him the happiest of birthdays today.
Happy #95 Grandpa – you put the “amps” in Gramps!
Here’s a very recent picture of Gramps with one of my nephews, posted on my brothers Instagram: