A Man Worth Remembering…


Think back to a time when you first met someone who instantly attracted your attention.  Maybe it was a kind smile possessed, a generous action performed , or even eyes that had a story to tell.  Someone who seemed to live life with such confidence in who they were that little impacted their very being.  One who drew you into the soul of their existence by just being present.  Compassion, care and understanding worn as an overcoat on a winters day.  Thought of anyone yet?

My grandfather was just such a man.  To look at him, he wasn’t an imposing figure who caused fear just being in his presence.  No, he was a slight man who mostly spoke in quiet tones.  A man who certainly would look to avoid conflict when possible instead one who tried to create new friends from those he had previously opposed him. 

My grandfather was a walking welcome sign with vacancy light continually lit up.  He always had time for another.  He had no other ability but to be perpetually hospitable with time for any problem imaginable.  When I walked beside him my feelings of possibility arose, vulnerability was far removed, and I was the prized prince.

Having no paternal role model available I was a willing student studying the class of life by the great professor.  His life was led by example not so others would follow but because he knew no other way.  Hindrances of needing to be liked or valued never showed their ugly heads.  He was followed like a cub after a mother bear.  Following because life was found in the example shown.

What a sense of humor…what a pleasant disposition…what an ability to make others feel loved…what an ability to make a scrawny boy feel safe and wanted. 

There is an Old Testament phrase – “kinsman redeemer” which refers to a family member that steps in to meet the need when a parent has left the life of a child.  This individual was required to assume all duties and responsibilities of the departed parent.  To make sure the child was cared for, protected, and taught how to live their life.  What an awesome amount of responsibility placed on a kinsman redeemer.  In Old testament times this was not a voluntary consideration it was mandated by the law.  My kinsman redeemer needed no law to step in and love me.  My kinsman redeemer needed no law to protect me from harm.  My kinsman redeemer needed no law to guide me to the right steps of life.

I miss him today.  I miss him greatly.  I wish he could see what I have become.  I would love for him to care for my children the same way he cared for me.  My kids will never know the greatness of this man except whatever shows through me.  I doubt it will ever do justice to him.

I find it shameful that during his life I didn’t have the ability to see my grandfather the way I do today.  How much more he could have taught me.  But…he taught me plenty, much that has shaped me into my person I am.  I refuse to live with regret as it defines our lives keeping one forever unable to become.  He would never stand for that.

Live a life of freedom…release encumbrances that bind you to worries of yesterday or hopes for tomorrow.  Look to see the story in others eyes and take the time to listen.  Provide comfort and protection to those that are unable to provide for themselves.  Step up and meet the needs of others not out of obligation but out of desire to help.  Provide vulnerability to people scarred but the hurts of life.  Give people a safe harbor to rest when weary from the storms of life.  Help people to walk tall and proud, lift the weight of burden from another.  Smile…and then keep smiling.  Be pleasant to be around.  This is what my grandfather tells me.  This is the  voice I hear in my heart.

The way my grandfather lived his life was by exemplifying the essence of the Christ.  While not shouting from the rooftops or village steps the message carried forth with crystal clarity the urgency of love. 

Too much time is spent trying to copy the holy.  The focus should ensconce being holy.  Imitation falls far short of the original.

Raymond Crofoot…you were certainly an original.



  1. mom said,

    September 16, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Oh Mike, I’m glad that he was the role model that you chose. He loved you so much always. He was – and would be proud of the man that you are. I have so many memories. Correction!! He was – and would be – and I am – proud and thankful for the man that you are.

  2. Gordon Baker said,

    September 17, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Mike, Jon told me about yoru site. I enjoyed reading your blogs and related to many of your stories. I will save your site in my favorites.

  3. peacetrain5 said,

    September 17, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Awww Shucks Mom!

  4. Joy Underhill said,

    September 26, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    What a lovely tribute to Ray, Mike! Lee told me about this and I plan to pass it along to others.

    Sorry you couldn’t make the reunion. It was a special event and reconnected many people. Don’t lose touch!

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