Let me tell you the story of a man.
This man was strong.
He served in World War II,
lived to see 100,
and spent the last decade and a half of his life
living on a cattle ranch in Montana.
He took a kick to the chest by a cow
in his late eighties or early nineties
and walked it off.
He survived two divorces
in which every child but one
sided with their mothers against him.
This man remembered courtesies,
and once thanked someone
for the kind words they said at his father’s funeral
some twenty years prior.
This man was kind
and did not let the circumstances of his life
make him bitter.
Let me tell you about a boy
who idolized that man,
who loved him dearly
across distance and time.
This boy grew to adulthood,
and still looked up to that man
as though he hung the sun in the sky.
That man was his hero,
is his hero,
will always be his hero.
That boy was me,
and that man
was my grandfather.
And on the 27th of August
I wrote him two letters –
two important letters –
in the past year.
In those letters
I told him in no uncertain terms
that he was my hero
that I was proud of him
that I was proud of being part of his family
that if I only lived to be half as great as him,
I will still have been a great man
and lived an exemplary life.
I’m glad I got a chance to tell him that
before it was too late.
I’ve always planned to give
my grandfather’s name to my first son
as his middle name.
He never got the chance to meet that son,
but I still want to give him that name
because the heroes who live in our hearts
I will miss you
in fact, I already do
with tears streaming down my face as I write this.
I love you Grandpa,
and I’ll do you proud.
Just keep watching,
I’ll do you proud.
To the first of my heroes
and the greatest of them,
Solomon K. Meyer
December 22 1914 – August 27 2015