One of my favorite people on earth is Garth Prince. His middle name is B. Just a B, no abbreviation. Garth B Prince, is my Dad’s father.
Since today happens to be his seventy seventh birthday, I wanted to share a little bit about the amazing man that I get to have as my Grandpa. It’s ok if you are a bit jealous. He’s pretty great.
My Grandpa Prince is a man who wears many hats. Literally (he almost always has a hat on), and figuratively.
Some know him as the ever reliable driver of the Beazer school bus. Always on time, and able to transport busloads of school children safely through even the harshest Canadian winters and icy roads. He was always one that could be counted on. His bus was one of order. He sternly enforced the rules: no food, sitting forward on seats, assigned seating, etc. Underneath his stern exterior, however, he loved the children he drove to school and back dearly.
Others know him as a hard working farmer, with tan lines on his bald head… a square mark from his hat, made brown from sitting for hours in the hot summer heat on top of his swather. He is usually found in one of his fields, working on farm equipment in the garage, fixing a fence, or cruising around on his side-by-side. He is the type of person who can fix ANYTHING. He is capable and knowledgable, and the best example of what a strong work ethic looks like.
He is also known as a humble and devout member of the Cardston Seventh Ward. He sits in the same pew every week, with his cowboy boots, and a crisp white shirt and tie. He is a friend and a quiet strength to many, as a worthy priesthood holder.
He is a caring neighbor. He is the kind of man who will drive his big John Deere Tractor through a snow storm, to help pull a neighbor in need out of a drift.
He is a loving husband. His wife (Sharon) and him make a great team. They are seldom apart. His favorite place to be is on the farm with her. He was given the nickname “Ten Day Grandpa”, because he couldn’t stand to be away from home for longer than ten days at a time.
He is a devoted father. He has taught his three children (a daughter and two sons) well, and they know they can always count on him when they need him. He is a wonderful friend, brother, cousin, nephew, son, and has many other roles.
But over the past 31 years, I have gotten to know him in the very BEST way, at least in my own personal opinion.
I have been able to know him as my Grandpa.
Often times, grandkids get to see Grandparents around holidays or a couple of times a year. I, however, was lucky enough to have mine as my next door neighbors. My Grandpa was my school bus driver (I was one of those unruly kids), I sat beside them every Sunday in church, we would walk through the field to their house often. They were part of my every day life. They still are.
As kids (and still as adults) my brother’s and I used to walk through their front door without knocking. Most of the time it was a good thing. Once it wasn’t (sorry Grandpa!)… From that day on, I made sure I would never walk in on him naked again. A new habit of at least calling out when I walked through the front door was established. We both felt it was for the best. 😉
Grandpa was ALWAYS hard at work on the farm, but he would often put his own projects and chores on hold when my brothers and I would beg and plead for him to pull us on sleds behind his four-wheeler. He loved to watch us squeal and laugh as we skidded across the snow on our “GT Racers.”
Every summer, we would drive a few hours away and go camping with my Grandparents. We enjoyed days of boating, jumping in the lake, and sitting by a crackling campfire at night. I’m not sure I have ever seen my Grandpa in a pair of shorts. Even on sweltering hot summer days, at the beach, he sits in the sun with his blue jeans on. On especially hot days, he sticks his toes in the water, but nothing more. Even though Grandpa doesn’t swim, he always is willing to sweat it out by the lake for the kid’s sake.
My childhood is full of memories of bike rides and picnics at the cabin. Bird watching, Barbeques, and and being sent on walks up to the “big rock on the hill” when we as kids were too rambunctious and the adults needed a few minutes of peace.
I am one of the few people who get to see my Grandpa’s silly side. He is a tough farmer on the outside, but inside, he is a big teddy bear. I love that I get to know that side of him. (Sorry Grandpa…the secret is out!) He loves Mountain Dew, cake batter, Nestle’s Quick, his Duramax, meat and potatoes, and he hates Yur-gut. (Yogurt) Or at least he thinks he does. 😉
My Grandpa is a skilled wood worker. He has built beautiful bookshelves, living room tables, decorative hanging shelves, computer desks, bed frames, etc. over the years. My own home has a few of his pieces in them, all made with precision. Years ago, when we were poor students, I showed him a picture of a Pottery Barn bed that I wished I could buy for Addison. He worked his magic, and delivered a sturdy bed a few months later. It was even more beautiful than the one I had showed him online. A few months ago, I asked if he could whip together a few picture frames for my new house. Little did I know, he would spend the next couple of weeks finding the perfect pieces of barn wood on our family farm, and he would spend countless hours making them just right. Even though he wasn’t feeling well. My Grandpa has a wonderful way of showing his love through his woodworking. They are pieces that I treasure, because they are a part of him.
My Grandpa has been there for every big milestone in my life. My baby blessing, my first day of school, my baptism, my last day of school, my graduation, my first wedding, each of my children’s baby blessings, my husband’s funeral, and the day I married Ryan. He has attended more choir concerts than he can probably remember to count. He is a person I know will always be there for me.
Happy Birthday Grandpa. Thank you for being such a huge part of my life. Thank you for being the Grandfather that you are to my children. They adore you.
You are such a great example to me, and I love you so much.
You are one of the bravest people I know, you are stubborn (it’s where I get it from), and you are a fighter. Leukemia has definitely met its match. ❤