I hadn't thought about that letter in years. Not sure why I did now. But I wanted to find it. I knew where it was—in a scrapbook, in a plastic bin—deep in the loft of the cabin.
It was the only letter I ever received from Grandpa—he wasn't a letter writer. It was neatly typed on white crinkly paper. At the time he'd sent it, I'd been dealing with some of life's hard realities, and even though they were adolescent challenges, Grandpa knew it mattered to me.
Now as I read his words decades later, they sounded just like he used to talk. Some humor mixed with wisdom.
His wisdom was well-earned, but he didn't earn it in school—his classroom days ended at age 13 when he took over the wheat ranch operation for his widowed mom and his five remaining siblings. This was back when horses pulled the plows and harvester. Hard labor.
Grandpa's advice: "bad things don't last as long as good times." For a man who'd faced years of adversity, he knew hard times and how to appreciate good times.
He wrote to me, "hang tough and you will come out of things in fine shape." I read those words when I was 13, the same age Grandpa was when he took over the ranch.
I wonder if anyone ever encouraged him to hang tough. He'd faced far harder circumstances than I ever did.
I was blessed to have a wise, hard-working, faithful Grandpa. He only wrote me one letter, but it's the one I needed then. Holding the old letter in my hand, it's also a wise reminder from him now.