It’s been some time since my grandfather, a farmer, died.
Yet his unspoken lessons shaped the girl I was, the woman I am, and the elder I am becoming.
His main lesson in life was this simple: Give.
I first learned my grandfather’s philosophy of giving when I raided the cubbyholes of a little “secretary” (antique desk) I admired in an upstairs bedroom.
I discovered a cheque with several zeroes on it, and raced downstairs to show my mother, his youngest daughter.
I was old enough to realize the cheque was outdated.
“Oh, your grandpa did some work for that farmer and the man couldn’t afford to pay,” my mother explained.
“But it’s so much money!” I replied.
“That farmer’s family needed it more than your grandpa,” she said.
It was some time before I truly understood.
I later discovered “anonymous” on our church bulletin, next to a grand donation for badly needed roof repairs. This sum also had several zeroes.
Somehow, I suspected my grandfather again. My Mom confirmed that he had made the donation that way so no one would know. (It wasn’t even his church — by then, we lived hours away from my grandparents’ home.)
Mom explained her father never claimed charitable donations on his income taxes either — even after he became a millionaire, by selling that once-poor farm.
It took years for me to comprehend this.
When I was old enough to give money to others, I tried to follow his example.
It was not simple at all.