They simply do not make men as good as Earl Paulus anymore.
Seth’s grandpa died this morning, and although the Lord took him a little sooner than I think any of us would’ve preferred, I can’t help but think that if Seth and I are blessed to live even half as decent, productive and fulfilling life as he and grandma have, I know I’ll be satisfied.
Today I’m remembering a lot of moments, including a conversation we had about three years ago. The three of us were eating at Schmidt’s in German Village, and grandpa was talking about how the doctors thought he might have cancer. He spoke about his life and his struggles and his triumphs in such a way that it was clear he was pleased with the whole lot. He said that if the Lord wanted to take him, he would be ready. It was hard for us to hear, of course, but at the same time, it gives me comfort now. Not everyone can live their life in a way that they’d come to such a conclusion.
Grandpa was of the generation that never sat down. He was most often a turkey farmer and held, generally, from the stories I’ve heard, at least three different jobs at any given time to care for his family. Just a few weeks ago, in between hospital stays for pneumonia, he was tearing down walls in the old turkey barn. The man never stopped. He was sharp as a tack. It was something like 83 years before his body could no longer keep up with him.
I think about the way he built his house, from the ground up — he and grandma with a trailer attached to their station wagon, and they would pick up huge flat stones along the side of the roads along Tuscarawas county. He worked constantly to provide a beautiful home and spread for his family. In “retirement,” he was the kind of grandpa who made us all wooden trinkets and puzzles at Christmas. The first one to guess what the present was would win. I was able to be a part of only about the last decade of his life, but it was more than enough to appreciate the joy he brought to everyone in his family.
We last saw grandpa on Seth’s birthday, when we went up to see him in the hospital. He was sassy as ever, teasing me for wearing heels while pregnant, and he told us that the most important thing in our lives right now was growing inside my belly. I can’t tell you how very sad I am that our daughter will never get to meet him. But I’m comforted that her father is cut from the same cloth, and when she is born she will see bits of her great-grandfather in Seth every day. I know I do. Together, he and Seth knew every farmer in every county in the state of Ohio, and they would sit and talk about them all during our visits. If you’d ask grandpa something like, “how do you level log floor joists on the second story of you house?” or “how do you move a well pressure tank from a pit outside your house into the basement?” he would have an answer.
When we would visit, he’d have several calls and visits during the day from people in the community. He knew just who to send if a toilet was clogged or if there was a problem with somebody’s gas well. Anything. He knew everything and everyone. Maybe most of all, I loved listening to he and Seth shoot the breeze, and we grieve the loss of his wisdom and knowledge and his stories. It’s very difficult to imagine giving that up.
Grandma and Grandpa Paulus have been through a lot. They’ve suffered loss that even the strongest marriages do not survive, including the death of two of their children and grandpa’s only son in a car accident back when Seth’s mom was only a teenager. As sad as we are to be without him, I’m happy knowing that he’s with his kids now. And oh, what a reunion that must be.
Thanks to God for bringing such a great man into our lives.
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