Sunday, May 6

My Grandfather

My mom was digging around through some old folders or emails or something and found some old papers I wrote as homework assignments. Here is one of them. I'm not sure when I wrote it, but I present it to you essentially unedited; most likely from my Senior year of High School, but maybe older.

My grandfather was born in the rolling hills of the Ozarks (which some mistakenly call mountains) and since then he has lived in numerous places, including California, Texas,  New Mexico, Georgia, Utah, Alaska, and now a mountainside in Colorado.  He has preached numerous sermons, worked with many good people, changed many lives, pastored many churches, and held many important positions, (including: Regional Catalytic Missionary, Language Missions Director, Director of Associational Missions, and Director of State Missions) and though those things are great, they do not compare to his work as a father to his four children (Audrey, Ken, Kerry, and my father William) and a grandfather to his thirteen grandchildren.
Grandpa was born in Whit Springs, Arkansas on October 26th, 1936, he told me "I was born at a very young age, I was actually an infant when I was born," which is an example of his sense of humor.  He was not expected to live, and neither was his mother, so that when his grandmother died on November 6th, his father did not go to the funeral, because he thought his wife was going to die.  But they did not die, they lived on and eventually returned to full health.
When he was a boy, his family traveled to California in the spring and summer time to do farm labor.  They chopped cotton, harvested potatoes, (which he told me was very dirty work, by the end of the day only your eyes and your teeth were white) knocked almonds from trees, picked peaches (this involved climbing ladders to reach the peaches in 112 degree heat, with no breeze and very uncomfortable itches) and other such labor.  When fall came, they would return to Arkansas, and he told me that they made very good money (for the times) by doing this.
He went to the same school in Whit Springs first grade through to his High School graduation.  The rooms were divided such that first-through-third grades were all in one classrom together, fourth-through sixth grades were in another class room together etc. etc. all the way up tenth-through-twelfth grades.  Each student heard the lesson of the others in his room as well as his own lesson, so every student learned each lesson three times.  Grandpa graduated from High School second in his class -- from a class of two students -- at Whit Springs High School.  His graduation picture (which I have not seen) is him and his classmate sitting on a couch in his classmates living room.
After graduating from High School he went to California and stayed with his oldest sister Wanda and got a job with a company that made swingsets, though he quit that job to work for a battery company as an Assistant Shipping Clerk.
At this time, he attended Grace Baptist Church.  One evening after Sunday school, he and some of the other young men of the Church were putting away the room-dividers when Grandpa saw three young ladies sitting at the back of the Church.  He sat down near them and introduced himself to them.  These girls were Mary, Barbara, and Susy Brisco.  That night after she returned home, Barbara Brisco told her parents that she had met the man she was going to marry.
My grandpa dated Mary, Barbara's older sister, but he wouldn't date Barbara because he thought she was too young.  (She was maybe twelve at the time)  Eventually though, Barbara asked Kenneth to the Sadie Hawkin's dance and he agreed to go, but then went to see his brother instead.  His brother asked him why he was there, and he said
"I was going to go to the Sadie Hawkin's dance with Barbara, but I don't really want to go."  Then his borther told him that he should treat her better, because she was the "best-looking girl in that church."
Later on Kenneth went with Mary and Barbara to visit a former girlfriend who was sick and on the drive there Barbara asked him why he hadn't shown up at the dance, he apologized and then he told them about what his brother had said about Barbara, and Barbara said
"Well, I guess we'll have to get married then," so Grandpa gave her his class ring and they began dating and spending time together, though the plan of them getting married and her wearing his class ring was just a joke between them.  But after a few months of dating, Grandpa asked Barbara if she wanted him to give her a real ring, she told him that he would have to ask her parents.  So they asked the Briscos if they could marry and the Briscos told them that you could marry in one year; they figured it would all blow over.  It didn't, and on June 28th --the day after Barbara's 15th birthday-- they got married in Texas.  (A girl the age that grandma was at that time could not get married in the State of California unless she was pregnant, and grandma wasn't)
Grandpa quit working with Trojan and went to California Baptist College; (now California Baptist University) he didn't know that he needed to apply, so on July 1st he just showed up on campus, he was asked who he was and he said "I'm Kenneth Chadwick, and I'm here to go to school."  They told him that he had to enroll, so he worked out all the paperwork and he was ready for class by the beginning of the first semester.
While going to college, he began working with Hispanics at the First Spanish Baptist Church in El Monte, CA as an associate pastor.  At first there were two seperate sermons in the morning: one spoken by him in English to the English-speaking congregation and the other spoken in Spanish to the Spanish-speaking congregation, but eventually they moved to one sermon in Spanish to the whole congregation on Sunday morning and one sermon in English on Sunday night.
When he finished college he went to Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in Mill Valley, California.  While he was in seminary, he was pastor of First Spanish Baptist Church in Hansford, CA.  During their time in California, my grandpa and grandma had their first three children, first my Aunt Audrey in December of '58, then my Uncle Ken in January of '60 and a while later, my Uncle Kerry in November of '63.
After seminary, he took the family to San Antonio, TX for ten months for he and grandma to go to language school.  After this they lived in Las Cruces, NM (where my father was born in March of '70) and then Albuqurque, NM, Atlanta, GA, Salt Lake City, UT, and Anchorage, AK.  Grandpa served as Regional Catalytic Missionary, Language Missions Director, Director of Ethnic Church Growth, Director of Associational Missions, (for both the Salt Lake Baptist association and the Rainbow Canyon Baptist association) and Director of State Missions, respectively.
Grandpa retired in 2002 and moved in with his son Ken in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado.  In 2003 his house was finished, and he and Grandma moved in to their own home not far from Ken's. (though he has since sold it and moved to Longmont, CO)  Since then, he has done missions in New Mexico, had a short stint in Torreon, in the state of Coahuila, Mexico, and spent six weeks in the Arctic Circle in 2004.  He was also the Interim Director of Missions for the Southwest Baptist Association for nine months, and the Interim Director of Missions for the Longs Peak Baptist Association for another nine months after that.  He was the Interim Pastor for First Baptist Kenai for nine months, and is currently the Interim Preacher (not serving the other roles of a pastor) for Canyon Ridge Baptist Church in Bellvue, CO.
My grandpa is now a great-grandpa for the third time, the first time being last July when my cousin Kerrys's daughter Aithne was born, the second when my cousin Chad's son Trystan was born, and the third the day before I called him, January 25th, at the birth of my cousin Connie's daughter Drew.
My grandpa taught me many important life lessons, whether indirectly through my father (who often prefixes his advice to me with "My father told me...") or directly from grandpa himself.  Much of it was advice about girls ("Never date a girl you wouldn't want to marry," for instance) but a lot of it was also helping to instill a passion for God into my dad, who has passed that on to me.
Grandpa likes to spend his time reading, -- he reads the Bible several hours every day, and he also likes to read Louis Lamour, John Grisham and different Christian authors -- watching basketball on television, going on walks, (he walks several miles on days when the weather is nice) and most of all, spending time with grandma.  When grandpa is in a good mood, he often sings old hymns or bluegrass songs, and he likes to tell jokes and humorous stories.
I feel that Grandpa's greatest legacy is his trust in God and his deep desire that all may know Christ.
The view from my grandfather's wrap-around deck is amazing.  Below his house is a valley with a river winding through it, (the fishing is good in that river, and he has caught many fish there) at the far end of the valley is a shining lake -- "Crystal Lake" by name -- that is pretty enough by itself, but is absolutely stunning when the sun reflects off of it.  There are evergreens, short and tall, young and old, on both sides of the valley with small swaths cut through them for dirt roads and houses.
Above his house are several rock outcroppings with dead, gray trees on them; when climbed these outcroppings offer an even better view than that from the deck, and one can see mountains in all directions for many miles.
Looking at the beauty of God's creations surrounding my grandpa's house, one understands why he retired there.