Today was very special. The funeral of my Uncle Jerry brought all of us to a halt to honor a man whose life influenced so many. Cousin Elizabeth captured him in words as she described his Grandpaisms. I list her thoughts here for Sam in Paris and anyone else who might not have been able to be there or know him.
"As I’m sure all of you know, there was never any doubt that Grandpa was a talker, and he wasn’t just a talker… he was *funny*. He never met a stranger, and any conversation with him would be sprinkled with at least a few witticisms or bits of wisdom, although always with the Jerry Miller twist. Over the last few days our family’s been reminiscing about Grandpa, and we’ve compiled a list of Grandpaisms.
Grandpa loved kids, and he loved to teach us silly things. One of my earliest memories of Grandpa is of him offering me a quarter to learn the alphabet backwards; actually I’m pretty sure almost all of his grandchildren and at least one of his great-grandchildren can say it. I can still say it, by the way – Z, Y, X…
We didn’t have a song to go with it like when you sing the A, B, Cs – our goal was to say it backwards as fast as humanly possible. Grandpa loved music, though.
He sang his whole life, but as far as I know, he never played any instruments except for the kazoo; we all agree that he was an accomplished kazooist; and the ukulele; although even on the ukulele I think the only songs he knew were “My dog has fleas” for tuning it and
Peanut sittin on a railroad track, his heart was all aflutter, Along came a train around the bend, Toot toot peanut butter!
He loved rhymes, though. Everyone’s heard “Mary had a little lamb,” but, as with most things, Grandpa had to do it a little different. The Grandpa version went: Mary had a little lamb, she tied it to the heater; and every time it turned around, it burned its little seater!
It wasn’t just with rhymes that he was witty, though – he was full of good one-liners.
On introducing himself to some new friend he’d say “My name’s Miller – I guess you know who you are.”
After his truck accident he had Joyce get him a block of wood from the pile so when his brother Ed called to check on him he could say “Yep, I’m fine – walked around the block today!” He also told us “They x-rayed my head… didn’t find a thing!”
Probably the saying he was most famous for, with relation to the accident, or to losing his wallet or to absolutely anything he testified about in church, was “God takes care of his dumb kids.”
His faith was an important part of Grandpa.
Could truthfully be said to pray without ceasing – while mowing the lawn, working on roofs, even in the bathroom. Started prayers with “Oh God, our God,” like 63rd Psalm, and always had prayer with everyone before meals or before leaving for a trip in the car … which, with his driving, was probably a good idea. Before family dinners we were occasionally convinced he really *would* pray without ceasing – seemed like he mentioned every inhabitant of Newark, and Ohio, and the continental United States by name.
One thing we all remember him saying, though, was that a person wrapped up in himself makes a mighty small package, and as those long prayers could attest, there was nothing small about how much he cared for others.
I’m going to finish with another of my favorite Grandpa sayings: it was sort of his benediction, if you will. Anytime we were saying goodbye, first he’d remind us to “Remember who you are and what you stand for;” then he’d give his hope for all of us: May God bless you ‘til you can’t stand it."