Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Role Model

By Suzie Carr

This past weekend, I flew to my hometown and had the pleasure of visiting with my ninety-five year old grandfather. I took him for lunch at his favorite local restaurant where they serve up French Meat Pie and mashed potatoes. This treat delighted him, but not as much as when I asked him to tell me about some of his favorite things in life.

This question created a two hour conversation where my grandfather transformed from a feeble old man to a lively young man telling his tale and reliving those special moments in his life that brought him the most joy. He told me all sorts of interesting facts I never knew about him, and I didn’t know them because I never took the time to ask.

This man lived his whole life stockpiling tons of valuable knowledge and funny memories, the kind of stuff that could fill hundreds of pages of a memoir. His face lit up as he recounted his first sight of an airplane, his first drive in a car, and his first time watching television in color. He spoke fast and animated, anxious to tell me as much as possible in the time we spent together. He laughed and joked about his first date with my grandmother, about their wedding day, about the time his older brother took him fishing, and about the reason he goes by three different names (no one could pronounce is real name, Aurele, so they called him Johnny and Joseph instead).

My grandfather has always been my role model. He is the epitome of a great man, a loving man, a generous and humble man. He believes in hard work and perseverance. He believes in dreams and in laughter. He is genuine and tactful. And most of all, he is a forgiving man who has learned to move forward despite hardships that would crush most people I know. I aspire to live my life as happily and grateful as my grandfather.

My grandfather’s health is failing, but his spirit is not. I do feel blessed that I was given this special moment with him.

Before it’s too late, reach out to those special people in your life. Take them out for coffee and ask them about their life, their dreams, and their favorite memories. They are filled with stories and are just bubbling over with desire to tell them to someone who really wants to hear them.

Hoping you’re equally as blessed,

I feel it's critical to support the community, and so I've committed to donate a portion of my book sale proceeds to Chely Wright's LikeMe foundation ( to help provide support, resources and education to LGBT individuals, and their families and friends.