My grandfather, John, was 95 when he died in 1968. The last time I saw him, he was standing in the doorway of his small house on the edge of a tiny farming village, waving goodbye to me and my sister after we’d visited him.
When I think of him today, I see him in that doorway, dressed in his farmer’s overalls and I’m reminded how much has changed and how much is exactly the same.
John grew up surrounded by veterans of the Civil War and became a farmer in the era of horse-drawn plows. He broke the virgin soil in North Dakota and lived long enough to have running water, electricity, a radio, and eventually a TV and even a telephone.
Although he never learned to write, he could read and scoured the newspaper every day.
Boy have things changed. Today corporations, not individuals, do much of the farming. Newspapers are almost gone, and everyone has a cell phone.
Yup, everything’s different. Or is it?
The night my grandfather died, he motioned my father closer, and, just before he went to sleep for the final time, John said:
“Watch out, the Republicans are going to get in the White House and this country’s going to go to hell in a handbasket.”