Sunday, January 25, 2009

HAPPY 91ST BIRTHDAY, GRANDPA!

My grandfather when he was a little tyke, growing up in Atlanta, Georgia

Grandpa, me and his dog Bootsie back in the early 80's. Bootsie was a strong, willful mutt and when scrawny little me tried to walk her, it turned into skiing on cement.

A recent photo

A statue of Grandpa at Comerica Park in Detroit

This photo typifies Grandpa. He has an infectious laugh and a great attitude toward life.

I want to wish my Grandpa, Ernie Harwell, a very Happy 91st Birthday today. He is an amazing human being, legendary sportscaster and a wonderful grandfather. I am hoping I take after him - although even at my age it's tough to keep up with a guy like Grandpa. He works out at the gym daily in addition to jumping rope 300+ times, is sharp as a tack and seems to have boundless energy and enthusiasm for life.
I can still remember him good-humoredly driving us to school in his beret, robe and slippers or the times we'd come over and listen to his latest song on his reel-to-reel recorder. I also remember his Motown albums, rousing organ solos, piles of newspapers and all of the Detroit Tigers tube socks and t shirts in the basement. Going to visit he and my grandma was a total media immersion experience, long before the Internet ever came into play. He somehow managed to read a newspaper, watch TV, and listen to the radio, all while carrying on a conversation with everyone in the room. Grandpa had endless patience with his grandchildren and never seemed to get uptight or resent it when we poked around his office, made a lot of noise or tested how many revolutions we could do on his rotating chair before it came to a complete stop.
By far, though, the things I admire most about him are his devotion to God, warmth, sense of humor, loyalty and commitment to his family. Grandpa, I love you very much and am so grateful for the example you have set and the privilege I have been given to have you for my grandfather. I certainly hope you are with us for many years to come! Viva la Ernie!

23 comments:

Debra said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Grandfather. He sounds like an amazing man- the perfect Grandfather. Grandparents bring so much to our lives. I too have special memories of all of my Grandparents. The love is unconditional. I love the recent photos you have shared- Grandpa has such a genuine smile. Lucky you... and lucky Grandpa.
Happy Birthday Grandpa~
Debra

Karen said...

What a sweet post. Love the photo of your grandfather as a boy and he looks just as charming today in his beret. Hope he has a terrific birthday!

Joyce said...

Happy Birthday Grandpa Ernie!!

Oh... Anne a very beautiful post of your sweet grandpa! He looks fantastic!! Now I see where you get your beauty from inside and outside.
I really enjoyed the photos of him throughout the years. I hope he gets to see this wonderful post.

Have a golden day! xoxo

Tara said...

Anne

What a greta guy!And still in the gym, that's his secret!

Ivy Lane said...

Happy Birthday to your Grandpa!! He makes me smile!

Today marks 51 years for my parents' marriage! What a great day!

a. @ coterie said...

Your grandpa sounds very cool. I come from a big baseball family and they've all heard of him!

Eloise said...

What a wonderful grandfather you have! I hope he has a very happy birthday.

Maggie May said...

He has aged amazingly well! We should all be so spirited. That baby pic of him is too cute...look at that twinkle and that hair! I miss my grandparents so much. This was a lovely read.

Miss Kris said...

Hi Anne~

Happy Birthday to your Grandpa! Oh my... your Grandpa must have amazing stories to share with you. What a lovely tribute & Love the bronze statue!!! May you enjoy the day with him!!!

Lovely Post!!!~Miss Kris~

Karena said...

The photos as a young boy and the one with you are adorable! Thank you for sharing this lovely story Anne!

pve design said...

Oh, Happy 91 years young Ernie!
Anne- thanks for sharing - what a Grandpa!

3 Peanuts said...

You are blessed to have such a wonderful warm and dynamic grandfather! Happy birthday to him!

Kim

michelle said...

What a cool dude! It's so interesting to hear about life so long ago...reel to reel...I remember my uncle playing those!

Hope you are blessed with many more years! Great photos!

Michelle

Josh Harwell said...

Great post Annie! The making a lot of noise included you playing the organ to bootsie and crying... One of my favorite memories! - Josh

The Steel Magnolia House said...

Viva la Ernie! I love it! How awesome is that, Anne. What a beautiful post - possibly your best one yet. Thanks for sharing!
xx
Kara

Annie Empiric said...

I love Grandpas (mine, yours, and everyone I've known!!). My Grandfather passed away a few years ago but I still keep his spirit alive by telling my husband all the many stories of his fascinating life and with photographs around the house. Your post is super sweet.

Anonymous said...

This post makes me want to cry. How blessed you are and what a beautiful birthday tribute to him.
Yes, thank you for sharing.

Elisabeth Harwell-Surette said...

sniff sniff, aww this was sweet.

hmstrjam said...

so cool! you rock Grandpa Harwell! Nice to see a sense of energy that transcends generations!

Melissa said...

My grandma Ruth just turned 90 on the 22nd. She has a great place out in Bridgehampton, NY at the beach! Maybe they can date ;)

Purple Flowers said...

How fortunate you are to be able to call this great man your Grandfather!

la la Lovely said...

what an amazing man.... you are so blessed.. treasure every minute you have with him!

Sue said...

As I was scrolling through your post I thought I recognized your Grandpa. I'm a Detroiter and remember being at my Grandpa's with the voice of your Grandpa often in the background during the Tiger games. My Grandpa has been gone for many years now but everytime I hear Mr. Harwell's soothing voice I think of my Grampa Ellerthorpe. We hear often about your Grandpas generosity to the city of Detroit on WJR, our local radio. What a blessing for you to be his beloved grandaughter.
Hugs,
Sue

 
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