finding good in bad

Funerals—especially ones that involve flying across the country and back in a span of less than 72 hours—aren’t usually much fun. My grandfather’s was no exception. There were tears and formalities. Grandpa Joe was a Korean War vet. A United States flag laying atop his casket was folded and handed to my nana. She was sobbing.

I was crying, too.

A bugler played Taps. Outside, it began to pour.

So it goes.

But good things can come out of not-so-fun situations, too. Like the tales of Grandpa Joe’s lighter side that we heard from some of his tow-truck buddies after the service. Also, the letters I discovered later that night at my nana’s house. Apparently, my grandpa was quite the jokester.

Take, for example, the way he addressed this birthday card to my nana:


To: Mrs. Doris L. Wilson
Any place she is at
On her day


From: The one that loves her
But don’t understand her
And lives at the same place
Where the card came from

There was a Fathers’ Day card, too, from my nana to my Grandpa Joe. In it, she had scratched out text and replaced it with some of her own:

For my Hubby

A Fathers’ Day note about the finer things of life:

I can do without sports cars cranes

and fancy clothes tow trucks,

original sculptures tow motors,

and opening-night shows drivers’ dispatchers,

I don’t need ritzy clubs flat trucks,

antiques pickups,

mansions junk cars,

or yachts affidavits.

There’s just one thing I need, and I need lots of it—

You (and your love!)

Happy Father’s Day,


It’s not surprising, honestly, that such silliness could come from or be married to a face like this:

Grandpa Joe

Grandpa Joe in the 8th grade

It was also good to see Grandpa Joe’s old stomping grounds.


The old tow yard.


Shed where Grandpa Joe used to like to play tricks.

photo 4

Tow yard with scrap cars.


One of Grandpa Joe’s trucks.

And to see pictures like this one of my grandpa in action:


Grandpa Joe working on his crane.

So, you see, good things can come from bad situations. It all depends on what you’re looking for and how you’re looking for it. Will you focus on the negative, or will you seek the possible good angles of rotten situations, too? Grandpa Joe may never come back, but his memory will live on with those who loved him for forever.

We love you, Grandpa Joe!

P.S. A big thank you to my brother, Derek, for playing photographer with his iPhone for me on this trip. I forgot my camera!

For an interesting history lesson on the origin of Taps, check out this video. Pretty cool!