Just an Ordinary Man

December 13, 2009
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What would you say about a person who, when asked about the events that shaped who he is, says, “Every event controls every other event in your life, when I look back on my life every event affected what happened afterwards.”? That man is my grandpa, and to me he is a hero. Like Odysseus he was brave and willing to do what he had to while fighting in a war. When the United States was fighting in the Korean War, Grandpa was one of the many young men drafted into the army. After he got out he became an electrician and worked in a factory as an industrial electrician for most of his life. He married Wanda Harkless, and they had four daughters: Cyd, Chris, Kathy, and Kara. He is a brave, responsible, and modest man while also being incredibly fun-loving.

During his time in the army Grandpa often had to be very brave. Not many people would really consider him a hero because of it though. Grandpa luckily never had to be a part of any fighting, instead he was what is called a field wire lineman. He would go out with a team to string telephone wire; however, it was lot more difficult to do so then than it is now. They would wear special shoes, so they could grip the pole and actually climb up it to string the wire. While they were doing so, they could sometimes hear fighting in the distance, and all while they were already doing a fairly dangerous job.

His youngest daughter said that when she was growing up Grandpa would always say, “I didn’t want to grow up because when you grow up you get responsibilities, and I didn’t want anything to do with those.” Despite that he is as responsible as you can get. Never in his life has he gone back on something he said or refused to do what was expected of him. There is no doubt that if he has ever done something wrong or made a mistake he has had no trouble in not just admitting it but also immediately setting out to make things right.
People who do not know him well would probably never consider my grandfather a modest person. He has no shame in speaking his mind and letting people know exactly what he thinks. There was one time when we were out getting some things and when we passed one man he cussed a few times. Grandpa loudly told me how he thought cussing was incredibly annoying right as we passed the man. But anyone who looks further than just what he says to who he truly is will see that modesty is a major part of his character. One way in which that came out was when he told me what he considers his greatest achievement. What he said was, “Raising a family of four girls who brought me no trouble, only great satisfaction.” He did not boast of some feat of his or even a moment he was proud of. All he said was that raising his family was the one thing in his entire life that he was most proud of. If anything shows that a person is modest it is surely that.

There is not a person in this world that loves to have fun more than my grandfather. He never fails to make the people around him laugh and is exactly the type of person everyone would want as their grandpa. There was a time when he was visiting us and we were all talking in the living room. For almost ten minutes of that conversation he was teasing me incessantly and having loads of fun doing so. But, being the person he is, I did not feel angry or annoyed- quite the opposite, I was having just as much fun as he was. It is the type of person he is that he can make everyone have fun no matter what they are doing, it is part of why he is a hero because whoever you are, he is always there for you whenever you need to be cheered up.

Not everyone who is a hero has gone out and done something so utterly courageous that they are instantly labeled a hero. Grandpa never went through any great time of struggle, nor has he done any great act. He is a strong man, tall, and now what is left of his hair is white and his hands are always shaking. But that does not make any difference to me. Even if other people might not agree, he will always be a hero in my eyes. Because sometimes a hero is just an ordinary man who has had an extraordinary impact on someone's life.

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