Little Grey Man

I once knew a little grey man.

He wore grey pants, grey shirt and a grey feed store cap to work every day. On Sunday he wore to church a grey suit and a grey hat on his grey head.

Orphaned at 14, he was drafted into the army during the first World War and was in Ft. Knox Kentucky peeling potatoes when the war ended. He came home, put his uniform away and never mentioned the army again.

He married a lively, pretty girl, mortgaged himself to the hilt and bought the Holmes County, Ohio, family farm that had been in his family for generations. He and his wife started a family. Then the depression and crashing crop prices made it impossible for him to pay the mortgage. The farm was sold at foreclosure for less than he owed but he borrowed money from family to pay the difference rather than declare bankruptcy.

He moved to Virginia because a brother-in-law offered him a job. The job didn’t last. He worked for a two-truck dairy bottling and delivering milk and in his spare time he built a house for his family with his own hands and then a wood working shop in which he made cabinets, book shelves, caskets, and whatever you wanted in wood.

He was in his sixties when the last bill for the failed family farm was paid.

He worked in his shop, planted his garden, sat in his chair, read the paper and his Bible and in his seventies he began to paint. He painted scenes of the farm of his youth and described in loving detail just where the peach tree stood and where the grape vines grew. He was sure Christ would return to earth in the near future and he waited with calm anticipation.

As I stood at his grave side I saw this little grey man standing in the splendor of heaven, the focus of salvos of applause and acclaim from God, his ancestors and fellows, a shy embarrassed smile playing around the corners of his eyes. Today, this day, this little grey man who day after day, decade after decade, loved his wife, raised his children, paid his bills, did his duty, kept his faith…a man who never accomplished much by the lights of this world…today Gramps won.

Comments

  1. JoAnn says:

    By the second sentence, I was sure I knew who you were talking about. Very well written, Alan!

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