|My grandfather in his army uniform (http://paltry-sage.blogspot.com/)|
Often people choose celebrities or rich aristocrats for their heroes. My hero is a little closer to home — actually, right next door. He is my grandpa, James Delvin Raab. He is a husband, a father to five children, a grandpa to eight grandchildren and a great-grandfather to one great-grandchild. He is more than worthy of the title “Head of our family”.
My grandpa was born in the early 1930's in a log house on Miller road in Greendale Township. When I asked him about his childhood, he described it with one word: “isolated.” He told me that the nearest house was a half a mile away and so was their mailbox. Even further away was the small school he walked to every day (there were no buses). His favorite subject at school, mine as well, was math. Perhaps that’s where I inherited my love of math.
There are many things I think I inherited from my grandpa — not just my bushy eyebrows and full head of hair. When I asked him what kind of ideas he valued most, he told me honesty and a hard work ethic. Those values have transferred to me and I practice them to this day. I work hard at school and I believe in being truthful. I have never liked lying. Maybe that’s because I was never very good at it when I was young, but as I got older I learned to realize that the truth is the fastest problem solver in the world.
I learned all this from my grandpa, but the most important thing I gained from him is my desire for knowledge. Throughout my life, my grandpa has always had an incredible anecdote for everything. If I talk about the war in Iraq, he could tell me stories of when he was stationed in Korea. If I tell him about something I saw in the woods, he could tell me stories of his childhood when he liked to explore and trap animals. If I told him that our vacuum was making a funny smell, he probably has read the instruction manual and knows exactly what’s wrong with it. It is that which impresses me so much about my grandpa. He always seems to know everything, and if he comes across something he doesn’t, then it will be a short amount of time before he reads up on it to find out. If I could identify one characteristic that makes me grandpa a hero, it’s his unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
When my grandpa was younger, he didn’t have someone to look up to, someone to instill a curiosity in the world around him. It was his setting that did that. With all remote areas around him it’s no wonder he began to explore. When he finished exploring the land he explored information. I asked my grandpa what was the most important thing he’d done in his life, he told me it was to marry my grandma and start a family — something I couldn’t be more thankful for because he began an entire family of people that I have the ability to look up to and learn from.