I went to visit my grandfather today, who will turn 90 years of age tomorrow. He is one of the smartest people I have ever known, although he never attended college.
Over the next few weeks I will be writing more about him, mostly for my own benefit. I plan to interview him and harvest as many family anecdotes, historical recollections, and assorted pearls of wisdom while his mind is still so sharp.
Chuck Maples served in the Pacific during World War II, and worked for a number of manufacturing firms until he retired in the 1980s. For the last 20 years of his working career he was a tool and die maker.
My grandfather could fix anything to which he set his mind, and I have fond memories of him tinkering in the garage on old lawnmowers, radios, or televisions he salvaged. A child of the Great Depression, he found value in machines that others were ready to throw away.
"Give it to Chuck - if anyone can get it going, he can," was the usual mantra. Someone on his street gave up on a riding mower about 15 years ago, and after a day of working on the engine, he had a well-tuned mini-tractor to cut his half-acre.
He still rides it today.
He and my grandmother, who has already passed the 90-year mark, are two of the kindest people in the world, and I am truly blessed to have them as grandparents.