I don’t feel adequately equipped to go into writing about all the heartfelt, important things that are filling the internet and social media today. Instead I want to tell you about one of the most important people that have helped form who I am today. One that I don’t often think of anymore because no one else I talk to knew him. He’s been gone for so long now, 26 years, but I still remember his smile and his eyes and his crazy, fun ties that he would wear with his colorful knitted sweaters. And his hat. I remember his hat.
Every Sunday after church he would treat me to MacDonald’s even though my parents always said it cost too much. Back then there was a Ronald MacDonald sitting on a bench that you sit next to and have your picture taken. At the front of the restaurant there was a phone that the kids could use to “call” Ronald. Sunday’s were always my favorite day of the week.
My most treasured memories of him are the times that I would hop up on his lap and he would read his favorite Bible passages to me. He would let me play his guitar and the piano anytime I wanted and he would sit right there with me with such patience. That very piano is sitting in my living room right now and when I’m really lucky, I still get to play it for a few a minutes. He loved On The Old Rugged Cross and I have sheet music of his still. I think his favorite instrument to play was his fiddle. Boy, could that man fiddle! When his brothers were still alive we would get together for family reunions and we had hours of fiddle music, singing, dancing, laughing and tons of fun. I didn’t appreciate it back then as much as I probably should have.
I remember always feeling safe around him. I was truly happy and carefree and I remember feeling loved and accepted. He had welcomed my Mom and I into his home, into his family, with open arms, with love, with compassion, and without judgment.
His name is Raymond Arthur Olson, son of Thor and Thea. He was my Grandfather on my Step-Dad’s side. He was kind and caring and gentle. His eyes always sparkled with humor and love.
I had many family members on that side that served. I’m very proud of the Olson side even though I don’t really stay in contact with many of them. There were also many on the Salte side. I have pictures of no one. All the pictures that I am showing today I got from my Great-Aunt’s family. Her daughter had posted them on Facebook and was nice enough to say I could have them as well. I would have taken them anyway to be honest but I wouldn’t have shared them.
Have a beautiful day friends and stay safe