Nate’s grandpa, “Daudy” Alvin Beachy passed away last Thursday. Today would have been his 87th birthday. Instead, his family and friends gathered at the funeral home for his viewing. He would have said we didn’t need to make such a fuss about him, I’m sure.
I don’t feel I knew him well. He had significant hearing loss so at family gatherings he often sat off to one side and read or slept since it was difficult for him to participate in the conversations. I do know that he was always kind to his grandchildren, their partners, and to his great-grandchildren. He liked to make funny noises with his mouth to amuse the babies. In my head he is always wearing a hat, sporting a goatee, and there is toothpick in his mouth and a twinkle in his eye.
Most of his life he was a dairy farmer. Sometime in his sixties he retired from farming and passed the farm on to his son, Will. He and Grandma built a house in the woods on property that I assume was part of the original farm. He worked some at “the shop” making plows for Amish farmers into his seventies. Later on, he had a small woodshop on his property and he crafted practical and handsome pieces for his family. Each of his grandchildren have a sturdy, twisting hall tree from him. And each family also has a little wooden stool with a tall handle that makes it very handy for toting around the house. If you visit the home of one of his family members you are likely to see one or both of these items in daily use. I know that our hall tree is right inside our front door covered in coats and our wooden stool is currently in the bathroom because Silvie lugs it over to the sink to “wash” her hands.
He liked to travel and he and Grandma went on several trips “out west” and did an Alaskan cruise as well. He admired Jimmy Carter and made it point of scheduling trips to and from Florida so that he could stop at the Warm Springs Baptist Church and sit in on Jimmy’s Sunday school class. I wonder what Jimmy Carter thought to see this Amish-looking couple attend his Sunday school class.
He had the uncanny ability to take a nap in the most unlikely places. Someone with a camera caught him once taking a nap on his lawnmower in the middle of the lawn. Guess he got tired mowing so he just stopped the mower, put his head down and took a power nap.
He was still pretty spry in his older years and didn’t want his independence limited. However, Grandma got progressively less able to care for herself so they could not travel or get about like the once had. When Grandma was moved to the nursing home about a year ago, Daudy drove to visit her faithfully everyday. I don’t think they had a story-book marriage. They were two opinionated people and they did not always see eye-to-eye but they made their marriage work for 66 years and they were more open about their loyalty and affection for each other toward the end. Grandma will miss his daily visits most of all.
Some say a person’s wealth is really in the family they build. If that is the case, Daudy was truly wealthy. He and Grandma both came from large Amish/Mennonite families. Many, many sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews came to the viewing. Although Daudy only had three children of his own, they in turn had 11 grandchildren and now there are 22 great-grandchildren. I can attest to the fact that all of these people are kind, smart and curious. And in that regard, Daudy has left behind great wealth.