Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Originally uploaded by rustyandlaura.
What is the best way to describe what "Pa" meant to us? I know that he filled a special role in each of our lives. For me, having a disabled father who was unable to fullfill many of the natural things that fathers should in their children's lives, I had "Pa" to fill in the gaps.

He taught me how to shoot a gun and hunt deer. He even cleaned my first deer because I was afraid and didn't know how. He taught me how to drive and how to change the oil in my car. He taught me the value of being a handy-man and trying to repair things on my own.

He taught me where I came from and who I was related to. He implanted on me that there was no reason to ever be late for church. (I'm still trying to live up to that one.)

I learned that people, especially neighbors and friends, are valuable assets. And sometimes, you just need to lean on the pick-up truck and talk about the wheat and potatoes and just 'shoot the breeze' with each other.

During those early morning cups of coffee or those late night cups of tea, I learned the value of sitting together with family and catching up on each other's lives. He was so proud of all his family.

His willingness to stay by grandma's side and take care of her on a daily basis taught me the importance of being committed "for better and for worse, through sickness and in health."

We will all miss his apple-sauce, his fried chicken, his pancakes, and especially his fried potatoes-n-eggs. We will all miss the joy and pleasure of visiting him out on the farm. We will all miss getting teased by him about something. We will all miss hearing him tell the same stories that he told us a hundered times before.

No one will ever sing like he did.
No one will ever whistle like he did.
No one will ever tell me again that I need to grow whiskers in order to be a man.
No one will ever throw me in the pond again.

Life changes and goes on and even continues after death. Perhaps even now, he is driving his Model-T around, or working in his garden, or just sleeping in his chair.

The Bible tells us about the dangers of casting judgment upon one another. But I have to say, with out any doubt, that grandpa loved two things more than anything else in his life: his creator, God, and what God created through him, his family (5 children, 19 grandchildren, 55 great-grandchildren, and counting...).

When we think about all that we will miss about him, and about the role that he played in our lives, is there really any better way to express how we feel, than to say, "We love ya, Pa."

(Rusty's grandfather, Aaron Starnes, passed away on Wednesday, June 7th. He was almost 94 years old. We weren't able to make it back for the funeral, but Rusty wrote the above piece and emailed it to his mom so it could be read at the funeral in our absence.)


  1. You have a beautiful way with words Rusty. God's blessings on your family.

  2. Rusty, I am sorry to hear about your loss. I am glad you have many special memories to carry you through this difficult time. Thanks for sharing - Nicole & Jason

  3. Rusty and Laura, I know that Grandpa meant so much to you. I'm glad that Dad was able to be there at the end, and I'm thankful that Dad is with your mom now. Please let me know if I can do anything to help. My thoughts and prayers are with you three (Alex is adorable, by the way). I know that the next few months will prove to be challenging, and I pray that God will give you comfort and peace. (