People often ask me if I am more like my mom or my dad.  I always have to say no, because I believe I am most like my grandparents.  If you look at the photo of my Grandma Chamberlain standing next to her plane when she was about my age, besides the fact my hair is long and hers is short, we could be twins.  We even stand the exact same way.  Hip jutted out and knee slightly bent!   She was so unique.  Married young, had three children, rode motorcycles and flew airplanes and made the most unique egg jewelry, jewelry boxes and music boxes.  Oh, how I wish had something she made!  She laughed, loved and drove to the fullest extent of life and I admire her for being young and smart beyond her schooling.  She cooked like I have never tasted, told stories that would make you laugh until you cried and her love for boardgames is certainly living in me!  We spent lots of summer days with her and every summer, it’s all I think about.  How wonderful it was to spend the summer days on her big hill swinging from the tire swing, eating pinwheels – – the saddest day of my life was when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and just a little over six weeks later, she was gone.  I spent every night at the hospital though with her and my mom and grandpa…singing to her, talking to her, reading to her, holding her hands that were so crafty – I cannot sing the “old rugged cross” without tearing up for her and her life – I like to think if she was alive today we would be best of friends. 

Grandpa was just as unique and considering he lived slightly longer then her, in my adult years, I drew closer to him then I ever realized.  Being unique in his own way – and having sayings that I still hear in my head “hold it down to 90 on all the curves”, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”, “believe half of what you see and none of what you hear”, “be cheerful” oh, the list is endless.  Owning his own business and riding  Harley Davidson (yes, Harliebelle is name for him) until he was 83!  He owned his own heating and air  and small engine repair business and it was my pleasure and honor to be in the garage with him “tinkering”.  He would let you “repair” an engine, using all the tools, all the grease and then you could “wash” your hands with the special soap so that mom and grandma wouldn’t know what we had been doing…and…if you helped out really good (yeah, like you really “fixed” your engine) he would let you get a soft drink out of the small fridge he kept in the garage.  My fav was always “Tab”.  I think it was the pink can in all that manly mess that made me pick it.  I can remember getting to tag along on a few jobs with him or to go the hardware store with him.  Talk about someone who needed to “hold it down to 90″…he had a green work truck and as we would “FLY” along the country roads and highways you could hear the tools “clinking and chunking” and the wind would be blowing your face so hard!  I loved it!  As I aged, and he did too, I loved listening to his stories, writing them down to keep them safe.  He told me of his childhood in Alabama, helping to bury a younger brother, riding the train with his mom to come to Kentucky, swimming in the Ohio River to help clean the brass on a riverboat, so many stories…he never met a person who he didn’t want to help, he didn’t want to know…he didn’t love.  As I thought about giving his euology when he passed away, I could barely keep it contained all the memories, all the stories, and his favoriate saying when he heard your voice at the end of the phone “hello friend”!

Grandma and Grandpa C were both this way.  They loved life, they loved strangers, they loved their family, they loved their friends…they helped those in need, they spent time with friends, family, neighbors, people they worked for and with – always putting 100% of their attention to that event so we would know we were their focus.  Many holidays grandpa would be out fixing somone’s heat or air conditioning and grandma would get so upset with him…but I understand his point…why let someone sweat or freeze just because it’s a holiday. 

When I think of my own life, I know the deep seeded love I have for everyone in my life came from them.  I would give my right arm for those I call friend, I would give a room in my home to help someone out, I would give the clothes off my back to somone in need, I would give my last piece of bread to someone is hungry.  I think all the good I feel in my heart – all the need I have to please, comes from them.  I feel their presence, and I hear their voices encouraging me to be what God would want me to be.  Someone recently said to me “not everyone is like you”  at first I was glad because the past few months have been very emotionally difficult, I have been at my lowest of low…and then, I got to thinking, it’s too darn bad people aren’t like me.  To be able to show one’s you love how much, to encouarge someone who is down trodden or sick, or hurting, to give a hug and a listening ear to a teen in need of a parental figure, to be able to drop what you are doing and say a prayer for someone – to lend a hand – to offer all you have and all that you are so someone would know they are not alone and most importantly, someone is there for them.  Nope, not everyone is like me, but that’s because they didn’t have Grandma and Grandpa Chamberlain in their life.  That makes me sad for everyone else, but truly makes me happy for me.  Because I have known and seen true friendship, true love for friends and family, truly selfish acts that made me who I am.  And for that, I am thankful and cannot wait to get to heaven to embrace them and say the words I have been longing to hear  – Hello friend…

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