Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Grandpa Lendal (1923-2010)

Tomorrow, we'll be heading north to Missouri for the memorial service of Chuck's grandpa, Lendal Buttry. It's a sad loss for all of us because he was a wonderful dad, grandpa & fixture about the small town of Bernie for many, many years. As owner of the Western Auto store, there are very few people in the area who didn't at one time or another need a washer or a tire or a stove & come in to see Lendal & later, his son Jerry, my husband's father.

When I think of Lendal, I think of the intense sparkle he had in his eye. It was 99% happiness and 1% mischief, but whether he was entertaining grandchildren or talking about an adventure he had experienced traveling with Grandma Elsie & their Airstream trailer, the sparkle in his eye was always there. Grandpa Lendal always included everyone & made the in-laws feel welcome to be part of the family. He was a faithful Christian man & spent much of his life helping others who were less fortunate than he. Even this past Christmas as his health quickly declined, he was concerned the great-grandkids get their McDonald's cards for Christmas. Another thing that I remember about Grandpa is his "mildly-raspy-but-never-mean" voice that I never, ever heard raised. He loved catching up with the grandchildren & joking with them, the gleam ever-present in his eyes, especially if he thought he was getting one over on them. In his later years, when he found we had a mutual love of Airstream trailers, we shared a couple articles & photos about them & he donned his hat & let me photograph he and Elsie with their trailer. They're some of my favorite photos I've ever taken but they were in the days of film and I don't have one handy to scan. :-( Suffice it to say, they radiate happiness and his love for Elsie, his wife of over 65 years.

My mom pulled me aside at our wedding reception in '93 and said, "If you want to see what your husband is going to look like when you're older, look over there." She motioned to Lendal & I remember thinking "if Chuck looks like Grandpa Lendal as he ages, I will be very, very happy." I think he's off to a good start because he already has that sparkle in his eye.

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