This is something I wrote for Rev. Goff to read at Grampy Cole’s funeral in September 2010.
Grampy taught his grandchildren lessons that have proven true through life. I am grateful for every one of them, and for every moment I spent with him. One of Grampy’s oft-repeated lessons was always to “clean your plate” when you eat.
And he loved to eat. How many wonderful moments he shared with us around one table or another: at a picnic table outside what he always spelled K-I-M-B-L-E-ESSES; around the dining table in Ashby when, on Saturday mornings for many years, he and Gramma would come up with the “Dunky Donies” for a long morning visit; at a booth in the coffee shop at the hospital when we went to “pick a fight” with Gramma; at the Chinese restaurant in the old Nashua Mall where he took Adam and Mom while Aaron and I were at school; and at his own table on Christmas Eve, when we all had to eat whatever we could between 4:00 and when Gramma started putting everything away at 4:15.
I think Grampy loved life, and I think he left his plate clean. He took big, heaping, Grampy-sized portions of responsibility, and selflessness, and sacrifice for all of us, and he left nothing of that unfinished. He gave and gave and gave again to his three grandsons and four granddaughters. More than anything, he gave us his time. He spent so much of his own time watching his boys play little league, and watching his girls cheerlead, and going to our birthday parties and graduations, and lately our weddings and our own children’s christenings. He gave us his “company money” when he opened us bankbooks that he funded with five-centers from his roadside can collecting. He gave us the most wonderful example of how to love someone, because he loved us all that way – extravagantly, fully, with nothing held back. God’s Word says that Jesus came that we might have life, and have it to the full. I think Grampy had a life lived to the full.
Several months ago I was eating a meal with Grampy – and he pushed his plate away halfway through and said in a kind of puzzled way, “I can’t finish, chum.” And I knew that a Grampy without a healthy appetite for food would soon be a Grampy without an appetite for life. We all know he faded from us at the end. But this last transformation that he has undergone has given him his appetite back. We can be certain that Grampy is now the “old” Grampy again — happy and whole and full of love and, yes, full of life. He has met the Lord face to face, and there is a table spread for him in Heaven.
So you go on home, Grampy. We’ll meet you at the table.