My grandparents are not what I would consider the “norm”. They are more active at 78 and 79 years old than I am at 27. They are very involved in their church, they volunteer in their community and every Christmas they act as Santa and Mrs. Claus, visiting hundreds of children and adults throughout the Holidays bringing smiles to their faces and warmth to their hearts.
On any given day you will find my grandmother either sewing or meeting with a client as they pick up their wedding gown, pants, or skirt that needed a hem. When she’s not sewing, you can find her walking her beautiful golden retriever, Bailey (who she lovingly calls “puddin”), paying some bills or checking out Facebook on her iPad, or calling up a friend or family member to see how they are doing.
You will find my grandpa reading a book in his big recliner chair, watching sports on tv, or checking and sending emails on his laptop. If he’s not at home, you will find him swimming laps at the country club or taking classes at the University of Dayton, as part of their program to encourage learning in later years.
Both of them have been involved in their local 4th of July festival for years. My grandma dressed as Betsy Ross for the parade, working to make the flag, and my grandpa helped plan, organize and run the information booth for the big event many years in a row.
Because of their busy social calendar and willingness to serve others, it was no surprise to me that they were chosen as the Grand Marshals for the 2011 Centerville, OH Americana Parade and Festival. The title is an honor and it is given to those that exemplify the standards and character of the city, and live up to the motto of “warm and cheerful Centerville”.
As soon as I heard the news, my mom and I knew that we would definitely be spending 4th of July weekend back in Ohio to support my grandparents and show them how proud we are of them. We wanted them to have something to remember this special occasion, so we took all the photos from the event in past years and made a large collage and photo book where friends and family could write notes of congratulations.
The weekend was filled with food, fun and family! There was a Grand Marshal Reception where we all gathered for dinner and my grandparents said a few words, a concert that evening where they were called up to speak at a local park, the big 4th of July Parade where they were proudly announced as they waved and smiled happily, and their important role of judging the car show. They ended their weekend with an appearance at the big event…the firworks! Our family even got to enjoy the best view of the parade, from our reserved seats in the grand stands!
I am so proud of my grandparents. God has blessed our family in so many ways, and celebrating Independence Day by honoring them has given us all so many memories that will stay with us forever.
As my grandma said in her speech this weekend, with a huge smile on her face and a sparkle in the same bright blue eyes she passed down to my mom and me: “God bless our family, our friends, our community, and God bless America!” I couldn’t have said it better myself!