Grandpa Schriner

January 23, 2009
By Zachery Juilfs, Bennet, NE

Sitting on the edge of my chair across that hardwood table, in that old Victorian house nestled on the outskirts of my hometown, I carefully take in every word that spouts out of the wrinkled mouth of the man sitting opposite me. With his words he illustrates in my mind a picture of that old, rusted train yard overflowing with steel cars. His words are so captivating to my fifteen year old mind, that one would think I have never heard of anything he is describing.

Staring into those glazed over eyes surrounded by that old, wrinkled face, I am entranced by the image he narrates to me so vividly. Finally, he finishes his coffee and with it finishes my journey into the past with him. He rises to his full six foot one inch stature to go get dressed, and a minute later emerges from the basement with his usual jeans and a button-up t-shirt that always has a collar.

Seeing my grandpa from across the room, yard, or pasture, it’s difficult to tell what he has been through. However, when he speaks in that soft, yet firm voice it’s easy to recognize what he is about. For someone who alleges to lead a quiet life, this man amazes me. He is the kind of guy that stops in a thunderstorm to help a person with car trouble, but has no expectation of repayment. He is a man that has fought in and survived all of our country’s big wars and yet loves nothing more than to live his life in peace. However, it is his amazingly articulate stories that reveal the most about his life.

Whether it is glorious war stories from his days in the army, the tales of numerous camping trips with his father, or one of hundreds of stories about his cattle, there is nothing that this man can chronicle, that could ever be considered dull. Whether you’re yelling at him over an engine, or talking to him in tranquility, he will stop what he is doing to retell another favorite moment in illustrious detail.

The earliest I remember my grandfather telling me stories was when I was five or six. I generally listened politely but never really paid attention to what he was saying, or gave any thought to the significance of using the information to learn more about the man in front of me. Now that I have gotten older, and the realization of his eventual departure weighs on my mind, I understand what a mistake that was. Whenever I get the chance, I ask him leading questions in hopes he will tell me yet another story; a story that will give me another insight into his life, and another link to the chain of my own past.

Similar Articles


This article has 2 comments.

Linda said...
on Oct. 14 2009 at 9:48 pm
I love this story, it brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. You did a great job, keep writing !!

aunt k said...
on Oct. 14 2009 at 8:26 pm
WOW Zach! Great story and we all should take our grandparents stories to heart and listen!!

MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!