happy birthday george leon

Feb 2, 2010

grandma pa rollins

Today is not only Groundhog Day, it is also my great-grandfather’s birthday. This tiny man who was about 5′ tall was a giant of man in my eyes. I grew up running a little grocery store in a little town in the middle of nowhere and I was related to at least half of the town’s residents. My great-grandfather was known by everyone and we were expected to live up to his goodness. He lived a few houses down from our grocery store and I always delivered his groceries to his house and put them away for him. He would take me out back and invite me to play shuffleboard on his personal cement slab in the backyard or show me one of his latest quilt creations. I knew I was somebody because I was his great-grandchild (one of hundreds, I might add). He was often featured in a 24th of July parade for being the oldest resident of our town or his name would be brought up in church as an example of service, missionary work, longevity, or just down-home goodness.

I remember people coming into the store and saying “You’re one of those Rollins’ aren’t you? You make sure you live up to that name!” and I would beam with pride and vow to be a good girl.

My great-grandfather lived till he was 103. He was full of faith, kindness, humor, a love of games, and lots of pairs of denim overalls till the end of his days. He served seven missions for his church and worked hard serving his family and community his entire life. He served in World War 1. In fact, he was gone serving in the army when my grandmother was born.

As I think of him on this day, I remember his love for Jesus Christ and how he tried diligently to instill that love in each of his descendants. I am so grateful to be part of his family, to have known him, served him, and loved him.

After our home burned down, he sent us one of his quilts he had tied and a check for $500. My grandma always told me he felt so sorry for us and immediately made up his mind to help the best way he could at the ripe old age of 101. I love that quilt and hope it never wears out.

Happy Birthday Grandpa.

I am still trying to live up to your name.

p.s. Tami gave birth to her 8th baby early this morning…on grandpa’s birthday! I am rooting for a middle name of Leon. His first name is Jace. Doesn’t Jace Leon Lyman sound great?! I’ll let you know what they decide.

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  1. Mom

    Grampa looks so tall in this picture. I’m sure he’s standing on a stool beside Gramma because in real life he was about four inches shorter than she was. But you’re right. GIANT of a man!

  2. I always pictured them sitting down for this picture – do you picture them standing up?

  3. LaPriel

    Amazing. Thanks for the nice story.

  4. Tami

    Love that, Trac. Thanks. Well, with little Jace sharing Grandpa’s birthday, I couldn’t NOT name him after Grandpa. So – it’s officially Jace Leon. Thanks for the suggestion – I’m so excited to have Jace learn about his namesake and strive to live up to it like you have.


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