Mollie called Papa her “grandpa who lived in a hotel” because her only memories of him were when he was at Mercy.
I wish she and Lucy could have known Papa in the prime of his life- when I knew him as a child. I have so many memories of working in the yard with him, digging, pulling weeds, planting bulbs, raking the sand around the big Maple tree. He always took an afternoon nap. And made the best banana milkshakes.
He wasn’t very good at telling jokes, but he had a good sense of humor. He used to tell Matt that he was like “a bad penny that always returns” and he had that little glimmer in his eyes while saying it. And I think we all know better than to take any wooden nickels.
He taught me how to do handstands underwater in the Russian river. He taught me how to paint a room. To plant seeds. To make paper hats and paper airplanes. To care for plants. To look things up in a book if I didn’t know the answer.
He was so good at working with his hands . He was proud of his heritage and proud of his family. He was trustworthy and reliable. He was respectful of others and in turn was well-respected. I learned the value of these traits just by spending time with him, usually afterschool, and watching how he worked and interacted with people.
He was confident. He always did things how he thought they should be done. Most of the time he was right, and he wouldn’t necessarily admit it if he wasn’t. He was a bone fide pessimist, but that was always balanced out by grandma’s optimism. He loved her so much.
Because they lived right around the corner, I got to spend a lot of time with him- carefree afternoons just doing stuff- riding around in the truck, picking boysenberries, playing in the playhouse. Most of my memories of him are tied to 3040 Arizona Street.
But after they sold the house and moved into Mercy, he had new lessons to teach. He retained his sense of humor and was always a graceful host. I think he taught us all how to age gracefully and to try to accept things the way they are.
Papa George made the most of his time on this planet. I know that we are all proud of the life he lived; his strength and determination will live on through his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.