My grandfather Ephraim Wall recently passed away at the age of 95. I was hoping he would reach the century mark, but he didn't quite make it. Plus, as long as my grandfather was alive, I couldn't have been that old, right? Still, 95 years is a long time, and he was healthy and active for most of it.
My grandpa led an interesting life and was a remarkable person. Born in Oklahoma in 1914, he attended elementary school in a one-room schoolhouse and went on to earn his Doctor of Education. He was both a teacher and a farmer.
At different times in his career, he taught high school vocational agriculture, junior high and high school science, and physics, chemistry and physical science at the university level (including twelve years at a predominantly black university). He also spent a year as a traveling teacher with the National Science Foundation.
He was a farmer for most of his life, working on the same family farm which is still in the Wall family. (My dad inherited most of the property).
My grandfather was in his 60s when he took up the personal computer, which was new then anyway, proving that an old dog can learn new tricks. He used Apple computers, and my first computer was one of my grandpa's old Apples.
My very first trip to Mexico was with my grandfather and my brother. And going to Mexico eventually led to my becoming a VDARE.COM columnist.
I'm glad that my two sons (ages 10 and 7) and their cousins were able to know their great-grandfather. It's a real link with their heritage.
I don't know if I'll make it to the age of 95 or anywhere near it, Then again, I just wonder what the United States will be like if I get that old. The America of 1914 was quite different from the America of 2009.
My grandfather's funeral was memorable. A lot of relatives, including some I hadn't seen in years, attended. The oldest relative was Uncle Paul, my grandpa's first cousin, also 95. Many citizens of my hometown attended.
The customary funeral procession was impressive. The local police force and the local Indian tribes police force blocked off traffic so a proper funeral procession could take us to the town cemetery.
In times of loss, there's nothing like a funeral with relatives and people who have known your family for years. It drives home to me the value of Red State Rural Small Town America and its traditions. It's a way of life. Like the rest of America, it's worth defending.