Today is Throw Back Thursday. I chose to pull this picture out today, because I wonder what these two would think of our country in its current state. They were a wonderful couple – one that meant stability to me. I knew them in their twilight years. Still my firstborn was able to rest in Grandma Nedden’s aging arms.
Grandma was crippled with arthritis and my memories of her include watching her cling to chairs, the sink, the walls, for support. Her hands were gnarled and filled with liver colored spots. She was a little woman, probably less than five feet tall. Though small, she had an inner mischief which exposed itself every Saturday afternoon as she sat before her television set and watched the wrestling matches, believing the contestants were out to kill each other. Even when told the entire event was staged, she didn’t accept the fact.
Grandpa had spent his life on the railroad. I think he was a conductor. I remember him taking his pocket watch from his pocket quite often. It must have been a habit he acquired during his career. He was a rather tall man for the time. He reached almost six feet high. When he stood next to Grandma, she looked like a dwarf. He would walk downtown (which was about two blocks from their house) and sit on a bench discussing the state of the world with his other retired friends.
Their love for each other was evident. Though both of German heritage, they didn’t show emotion much, but it was obvious that they care deeply for each other. When Grandma was having a particularly hard day, Grandpa would support her into the next room where she could sit in a comfortable chair.
They lived in the small town of Antigo, Wisconsin. They played a large part in the raising of my father and his siblings when their own father deserted the family. It was a time when the children were very young and needed guidance. I believe my dad inherited much from both of them – a good work ethic, strong faith, ability to learn and so much more.
I think back to those years when I was growing up and wonder if I will ever not be shocked by the state of affairs in this country. The days of patriotism have almost vanished from the landscape. The days of sitting and talking for hours, or reminiscing, or reliving some memorable event seem to be fading fast with the onset of technology. Even the way we express ourselves has changed. The recent election has shown that we are a nation divided in our thinking, our purpose, our dignity, our honesty, our simplicity of living to the complete complexity of it.
We will never capture those olden days again. Time goes forward. Some things change, while many remain stagnant. However, we know that God is consistent and He reigns forever.