For those of you I have talked to and made you laugh or smile about the stories of my 106-year-old grandpa, well he died Thursday morning. I believe he finally got tired; you got to admit he sure had a lot more stamina than a lot of us. One of the funniest stories was when me and some friends took grandpa out on a party barge on the Mississippi four years ago when he was 102. We beached the boat on Beaver Island; we all went up to my friend’s cabin and I asked grandpa if he wanted to come but he said he’d stay with the boat. Well it is about 150 yards up to the cabin and when we got inside I looked out the window to check on grandpa.

Well grandpa was gone and so was the boat. I ran as fast as these legs would carry me and grandpa was floating down the river. I yelled to grandpa that “it’s alright grandpa, I am coming.” Thank God there was a dock that he crashed into that I ran down and got in the boat. When I got there grandpa was standing at the wheel of the pontoon boat, telling me, “Well I’m alright, if I could have found the key I would have started the thing.” The ones of you who know grandpa or know of him know he loved the Mississippi and had navigated that river many times and I do believe even with his partial blindness at that point in his life if he did find the key, he would have brought that boat safely back to the dock.

Another funny story is when grandpa hitchhiked at the age of 100 to Sabula Family Restaurant, his favorite place to eat.They took his license and he couldn’t drive anymore, because he was getting into too many wrecks.

Grandpa told me he wasn’t dumb about it and didn’t carry cash in case he got robbed, that he stuck a check up under his hat. Well I can’t remember the company this guy worked for but a company truck driver picked him up, (whoever you are bless you if you read this) and drove grandpa to his favorite restaurant where the woman who worked there promptly locked the door and called someone to come and get him. Locked the door, you ask?

Yes indeed! For those of you that knew him he would have been out that door and hitchhiked back to Clinton.

God bless you grandpa. I will miss you and the stories I was fortunate enough to have been a part of or gotten shared with, but you’re in better hands now. I love you.

Michael Kerens,

Lost Nation

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