My late paternal grandfather, John L. Pody, served as part of the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. He in the Aleutian Islands just off of Alaska. His skill in fishing and hunting helped keep his fellow soldiers warm and dry throughout the harsh Alaskan weather. He also got reprimanded for hunting seal while on guard duty, so he wasn’t always an angel. He did not talk much about his time in the service. I tried to engage him in storytelling, but he preferred to talk about his family.
Grandpa loved to tell stories about his children, his grandchildren, and his beloved wife, my grandma Marie. He seemed calm amid the chaos of a busy household. The noise and the commotion never seemed to bother him. My grandpa was most at home in the outdoors, hunting and fishing. I spent hours with him in nature.
He made such a huge difference in my life. Grandpa helped a nervous first time mom feel more confident in my decision to nurse when he mentioned that my grandma nursed all seven of her children. I felt like someone important to me validated this decision.
When I suffered the loss of a dear friend, I went to be with my grandpa to regroup. We didn’t talk much. We just fished. I needed the company and presence of someone who would not hover. My parents are amazing, but they tend to hover when I’m in crisis. At that time I needed quiet to reflect and grieve. My grandpa and his cabin did just that.
When my husband and I got engaged at my grandpa’s cabin, Grandpa spent an hour talking to us about his marriage with my grandma. His advice on marriage was invaluable. It brought tears to my eyes when I heard the love that he felt for her. I knew then that I had made the right choice to marry my husband. Thank you Grandpa for your service and your unconditional love!