In July of 1976, Bob and I made plans to take a trip to Yakima, Washington to visit his great grandparents. My grandparents wanted to make a trip to Cascade, Idaho to visit some family there. Bob and I decided to take them to Cascade, and another family member was going to pick them up and bring them home when they were ready. My grandfather was 83 years old at the time. He would live 4 more years before he went home to be with the Lord. My grandmother was 67 years old at that time. She would live 12 more years before she went home to be with the Lord.
While he was 83 years old, my grandfather was still pretty sharp, but there were things that worried him some. My mom told me to just do our best to put him at ease if he got nervous about any of the trip. This trip was interesting to say the least. We were in my 1968 Plymouth Fury III, and while it could comfortably seat 4 adults and two children, it was…well, snug. We had a car seat in the center front and a car seat in the center back. I know that you aren’t supposed to have a car seat in front, but there was no such law or requirement in 1976. My grandparents just took it all in stride, and the girls were very good, so while it was a bit tight, it was a wonderful trip.
The trip was going quite smoothly, and we were all enjoying ourselves. My grandparents proved to be very pleasant traveling companions. Most of the trip went uneventfully, but there were several occasions when my grandfather thought we might be on the wrong road. Bob was so kind to him. He would pull over, and get out the map. He would show my grandfather where we were on the map, where we were going, and the road we would take to get there. Grandpa would immediately feel more relaxed, and the trip would continue. This happened several times, but Bob always handled each event with kindness and compassion. Grandpa was also worried at one point about whether or not we needed chains for the tires, but Bob again put his concerns to rest, and our trip turned out beautifully all the way to Cascade, Idaho where we dropped them off and continued on to Yakima, Washington.
About 4 years later, my grandfather was in the hospital…his last time in the hospital before he passed away. Bob and I went up to visit him. It was a pleasant enough visit, under the circumstances, but the thing about that visit that I will never forget is that while my grandfather’s memory was going, and he really thought I was the nurse, he knew exactly who Bob was. They talked about that trip to Cascade, Idaho, and I could tell that while it seemed like such a little thing to Bob to ease my grandfather’s worried mind, it had meant much more to my grandfather. It was an unforgettable act of kindness.
Bob’s great grandfather, Edgar Knox was an unusual person. He was the type of person who just never quit, never gave up on life. I only met him on that one visit, but that in itself was an amazing thing. He and great grandma traveled from Yakima, Washington to Casper, Wyoming for a visit in July of 1976, when my youngest daughter, Amy was just a month old, and my oldest daughter was 1 year old. They came down with Bob’s great aunt and uncle, Helen and Frank, but I still call the trip amazing in that Great Grandpa Knox was 93 years old at the time it took place, and yet he didn’t seem like he was a day over 70.
He and Great Grandma Knox still lived in their own home, just the two of them, with no help. They were both fully able to handle life on their own. Their home was beautiful, and well kept. He tinkered around the house keeping things maintained, while Great Grandma kept the inside of the house in perfect order and gave it that warm and welcoming feeling.
We enjoyed the time spent with them so much, that we made plans to travel to Yakima to visit them again. It just wasn’t often that you had the chance to spend time with someone his age that was so full of life, and we wanted that chance again. Unfortunately, that was not to be. When Great Grandpa got back to Yakima, he once again started doing some things around the house to prepare it for the winter months, and while cleaning out the gutters, up on a ladder, he fell and broke his hip. He was taken to the hospital, and seemed to be doing ok, but went into shock and was quickly gone.
We grieved the loss of this wonderful man, but made the decision to go on the trip anyway. It was a good decision. We had a wonderful visit with Great Grandma Knox, even though it was overshadowed with some grief, but we all agreed that Great Grandpa had lived a very full life. Going home at the grand old age of 93 years, isn’t the worst thing that can happen, when that life was one filled with activity, strength, and one’s full faculties right up to the end. While we missed him on that visit, we were always glad we came, because I think it was what he would have wanted.