My Grandpa Boone had a way of making learning fun. Looking back, as a four year child, I didn't realize that I was actually learning anything. I just knew that I was having fun with my grandpa.
Whenever when we were driving and had to stop at a railroad crossing, the "train game" would always start. Sometimes we would try to count how many box cars went by, other times, flat cars. Or how many box cars had their doors open, how many flat cars were empty? If there was any writing to be found on the train, original or graffiti, we were both trying to read it.
At my grandparents' home, which was along the main highway in town, Grandpa played the same basic game, but with the autos that went by. One would count the cars, the other counted trucks. Sometimes we did colors. I loved it when I got to count anything painted blue. If a tractor trailer unit went by, Grandpa would once again have me reading what was written on it.
My kindergarten teacher wrote on my first report card, "Mel doesn't associate well with other children because she's too shy." I admit that she was right, but one thing she didn't have to worry about was teaching me how to count to ten or colors. Grandpa already had that covered before the first day of school. As far as reading went, I was always reading at a level that was a couple of grades higher than whatever grade I was in. Not because of the school teachers; it was Grandpa.
One of many photos that I have taken. Grandpa would be proud.
It didn't stop there. Grandpa was a man of many hobbies. Gunsmithing, woodworking, restoring vintage radios, reading, photography and feeding wildlife. If the weather was nice, we walked the dam together at Long Branch Lake. Because of him, I learned to respect and be careful around weapons and tools. I'm never far from reading the next good book or magazine and my camera is always handy especially if it involves nature or wildlife.
As I inch a little closer to my 40th birthday next month, I wonder if I'll ever make an impact in someone's life like what Grandpa Boone did with mine. Regardless if I do or not, I'll always remember the wonderful and great influence that he made in my life. Thanks Grandpa, I wish you were here.