My Grampa Lee (Arthur) was one of the greatest men in my life. He passed away in 2003. He was probably the funniest man I've ever met. He was short and bald and had a laugh that would make other poeple laugh. His wife (Carol) is still alive and is starting to forget everything (Alzheimer's). She still thinks that I'm on my mission, so whenever I see her, she is concerned and asks me why I'm home. She had red hair before it went gray, which explains why my hair has a red tint to it. She was always very patient with Grampa and his humor. Grampa read a lot, so much that he was a speed reader and could read several books in one day. He died of bladder cancer (which spread to other parts). I was so sad to see him go. He was from Cardston, Alberta (that's in Canada, for anyone that doesn't know - very close to the Idaho border) and grew up on a farm. His funeral was on the coldest days I've ever experienced. It was -40 degrees outside (Fahrenheit or Celsius, it doesn't matter. the two are pretty much the same at that point). I was a pall bearer and my hand got frozen to the casket while I carried it up the hill to the grave. Getting my hand off of it was really painful.
He majored in English at BYU (where he met Gramma) and had the most beautiful penmanship. He wrote a poem for Gramma Lee, and we think he wrote it near the end of his life because the handwriting was a little shaky. Below is that poem, which my cousin found while cleaning out gramma's house because she's moving to an assisted living center. It's one of the sweetest things I've ever read, and I'm glad I have his genes. I miss him so much. Here's the poem:
He was a country boy from some foreign place,
With not much else than a friendly face,
And while t’was rumoured this school guaranteed a mate,
His long term goal was a Friday date.
But where to look so he would have a chance?
When his friends suggest that they try the dance.
It’s a dance they hold while it still is day,
But you can meet girls in this painful way.
She was pert and aloof with charm and grace,
She had talent with laughing eyes and a lovely face.
She had just arrived and was kind of blue,
‘Cause the boys back home were all she knew.
But her friends were fun so they’d take a chance,
On a horrid thought – a mid-day dance.
So they both arrive,
Was it chance or fate?
But all they sought was a measly date.
He looks at the girls across the floor,
There’s a million there and maybe more,
Which one to ask, how can he know?
As he looks around kind of “cool” and slow,
And tries not to let his panic show,
For he knows down deep that it’s too fast apace,
For this country boy from a foreign place,
With not much else than his friendly face.
And his mind says run, retreat, go back,
You’re a 210 horse on a 220 track.
But a voice inside says don’t be a fool,
Your mother thinks you’re cute and cool.
Yes, he wants to run,
But he would look a fool,
So he stands around looking suave and cool,
And looks at the girls across the floor,
Hoping one will smile, or three or four.
But he looks in vain,
That is not his fate,
Soon he’ll have to go,
‘Cause it’s getting late.
When suddenly – was it chance or fate?
Who is that cute girl over there,
In the jumper dress and the gleaming hair?
His mouth goes dry,
His heart skips a beat,
And without even thinking he’s moving his feet.
It’s a very long way,
About a mile or more,
And his mind is arace as he crosses the floor.
She looks awfully young,
But she’s cute as a doll,
With her brown jumper dress and red hair and all.
I’ll bet she’ll refuse and then what will you say?
I’ll ask the blonde across the way.
And the closer he gets his mind racing ahead,
He feels his temperature rise and his feet turn to lead.
And despite acting cool his fears seem to grow,
She’s too young and too cute and she’ll surely say no.
But bravely he thinks are you man or mouse?
Get a grip, take a chance,
It’s only 5 words,
“Would you care to dance?”
Then he stands frozen there for an hour, I confess,
Then he starts to breathe ‘cause he hears her say yes,
So that’s how they met – was it chance or fate?
Because all they wanted was a date.
So they start to date,
They laugh and they play,
And see each other every day.
But it’s all strictly fun they speculate,
‘Cause all they want is one more date.
Just harmless fun, my how time does fly,
When returning home under starlit sky,
He can’t help but think how cute she is there,
With the moon on her face and the stars in her hair.
Then he looks in her eyes and his mind starts to shout,
This never can be and you better get out.
She’s far too young and you’re too country,
So you better run – no, you better flee,
But alas, it’s too late!
‘Cause they’re kissing, you see.
Just a country boy and green as can be,
And my mind exploded when she kissed me,
The thunder crashed overhead,
And rockets flashed in his head.
He can hardly breathe and barely see,
He forgot her age when they kissed, you see.
Well time marches on,
The days really flew,
And what transpired therein,
I’ll leave up to you.