Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, have dedicated their lives to the personal and professional growth of others.
Hanoch McCarty is an internationally acclaimed author and motivator who has presented his stories and research-based insights to audiences around the world. He is the author of Motivating Your Audience: Speaking from the Heart, as well as twenty other books and training programs. The McCartys are coauthors of A 4th Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul; Acts of Kindness; A Year of Kindness; and, The Daily Journal of Kindness
Meladee McCarty is a program specialist for the Sacramento County Office of Education and works to provide educational programs for students with disabilities. The McCartys are coauthors of A 4th Course of Chicken Soup for the Soul; Acts of Kindness; A Year of Kindness; and, The Daily Journal of Kindness.
My grandfather gave me the world when he gave me his love.
I never had to guess if the wonderfully weathered old man, whose eyes smiled brighter than his mouth, loved me. Unlike many of his generation, he believed in saying so. "DonÆt tell my other grandchildren," he would say with a voice become as familiar as my own heart-beat, while he gently herded me to an ice cream stand before supper, "but you are my favorite." It was high praise since I was the 24 th of 27 to be delivered into his happy embrace.
Grandpa would have done anything for me, but since love is all about the little things, he was always willing to busy himself with some project meant for my happiness. There was the double-benched swing, crafted in his farm workshop, upon which I spent endless afternoons inhaling the scent of spring wildflowers, while prairie clouds morphed from tempestuous oceans, to families of waddling ducks, to snow-crested mountain peaks only as far away as my imagination made them.
In the house, where my grandmother tended an oven that never went cold, I carried baskets full of romping kittens each spring, played tuneless melodies on an antique pump organ and felt safer than I ever have since.
Summer months meant that I could spend more time away from the confinements of city life. Only a twenty minute drive from our home, my mother often made the trip with me, past fields of golden wheat, and into the company of my grandfather.
On one visit that was meant to be short, I soon forgot myself in the midst of childish bliss. On a tireless red wagon, I pulled all the ingredients of a lemonade stand to the edge of my grandparentÆs property, where a county road intersected a sprinkling of homes, and where other children walked the dusty path to visit friends and family.
Excitedly, I peddled my refreshments to the few people who passed by, counting the meager change that was far from the point of my endeavor.
My enthusiasm withered, however, when the approaching form of my mother reminded me of an appointment I knew I would not be permitted to miss. "But who will sit at my lemonade stand?" I wanted to know, imparting it all the importance unlost innocence always does.
"I guess you will have to pack it away until another day," she replied with regret. Mournfully, I began to obey, slowly replacing my hand-made sign, cups and pitchers into the wagon before loading on the table and chair.
From the house, where I had been visible through the window, Grandpa came stepping across the expanse of grass with a stiffness reminding me my best friend was not my own age.
Without a word, he gently touched my cheek with a rough finger and bent to undo the work I had reluctantly done. He seated himself in the chair and unfolded a newspaper. "It is a nice day for lemonade," he said. "Hurry back and weÆll share some."
When we returned later, Grandpa was still at my post, the newspaper abandoned in favor of a needle and thread and some clothes in need of mending. In the small box where I had begun to deposit my earnings was more change than could be accounted for had the entire village showed up for a drink.
Together we sat by the road for a little while longer. As the sun began to go down and Grandma called us in for supper, we dismantled our stand and walked back to the house.
¬2002. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Chicken Soup for the Grandparent's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Maladee and Hanoch McCarty. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.