Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Father-in-Law

My father-in-law is a gem of a man. This year he has witnessed his 91st Christmas. In March, he will turn 92. I was fortunate enough to get to have him over for Christmas Day dinner. I enjoyed the twinkle in his eyes as he still teased my dad! And the excitement he showed as he opened our Christmas gift of a new shirt. I watched him struggle to unsnap each of the buttons and rub his fingers against the soft material. He was determined to try it on right then and there and as Grandma Veda patiently helped him out of his old shirt and into the new, I witnessed an enduring love between the two of them. How tenderly she treated him...proving a love that had weathered sixty odd years of marriage. Four children had been born of this love and now many great grandchildren later...the love still endures. He no longer is the strong farmer/rancher I remember when I entered the family thirty-five years ago....the fraility of ninety years has taken it's toll. Hands shake and tears form easily in the corner of cloudy, distant eyes. Yet, I can still see the loving father...the providing husband....the patriotic World War II veteran...the bible believing Gideon....the proud cattle rancher....the faithful Sunday School teacher....He wore many hats in his 90 years, yet he very seldom ventured more than a hundred miles away from home.....he could toss a mean horseshoe in his day...could milk cows with fewer fingers than most (due to an accident), he was honest, a good neighbor, and would loan you the shirt off of his back. If he ever had need to borrow anything, he would return it better than he received it. His door was always open for a visiting evangelist or company on Sundays. In his day, he could work circles around men much younger than himself. He was proud of his Danish heritage and prouder still of his Lord and Savior. When Wednesdays and Sundays would roll around, you would find him in church. And that is where you would still find him if he were strong enough to attend. It is with the greatest honor and respect that I give homage to this wonderful man and patriarch. How fortunate I have been to get to know him. What a gift to us all. God bless you, Jimmie H. Raben. We love you!