Our family lost a sweet, sweet man this weekend. Grandpa Ace passed away and my heart is sad this morning. He is one of the greats--a quiet rock with a witty sense of humor. He came into our family almost 23 years ago and has been every bit the perfect grandpa to us.
My favorite story about Grandpa Ace happened before he and my grandma were married. I grabbed my grandma's autobiography this morning to read about their time together. I was hoping the story was in there as I was pretty young when it happened and the details are unclear. It's better in her words:
"Our family home evening group planned a vacation cruise to the Bahamas. In the group (was)...Ace Hyer (a friend of Russell and Carols) from Ogden... I have hesitated to record this story, but Ashley, my granddaughter wants me to, so here goes. ...We attended a special program, ate our fill of the delicious food and got to bed about 2 a.m. Mary and I had decided we would not go to breakfast that morning. I awoke about 6:30 a.m. to a telephone ring.
A male voice said, "This is your captain. We have had some trouble during the night. The ship hit an iceberg. We want you on deck wearing your life jackets in ten minutes."
I said, "Is this serious?"
He said, "VERY SERIOUS!"
I hung up the phone, not realizing until that night that I didn't even get it back in place. I told Mary what the captain had said. She fell for it too.
She said, "My kids wanted me to come on this cruise. They will be sorry now."
We both started to dress with thoughts going through our minds. I thought, "I wouldn't think an iceberg could come this far, but then, maybe. Should I take my money in my bra or leave it here? We must not be too far from the Florida coast. They should come to rescue us soon. What should I wear to keep afloat - the best etc, etc." I think I felt I was on the Titanic and in the water holding on to a plank or piece of wood. We were almost dressed, but not in our life jackets yet, when a knock came at the door. I answered it. It was Marie Talbot. I thought, she doesn't have her life jacket on!
She said, "Are you ready to go?"
I said, "Not quite, but aren't you afraid?"
I told her and I can still her her say "Oh, Phooey!"
On our way to breakfast with the Talbots and the Williams we must have figured out who the "Captain" was. He would rather remain anonymous. He claims he never dreamed we would take it seriously. He just wanted to wake us up for breakfast. As we were eating breakfast I could see him at another table with others in our group. His back was to me. I picked up my large linen napkin, went behind him and put my napkin around his neck and pulled up on it. The others at the table looked at me with surprised looks. That's how Ace and I got better acquainted on that cruise. The iceberg story gave us all many laughs then, and was the object of much kidding in the months to come... I still haven't got even with Ace for that practical joke. Maybe I did - I married him."
Of course, we all fell for him as well. I can vividly see him leaning back in his chair, quietly chuckling to himself, as we would recount the story at dinner time and laugh and laugh at the idea of Grandma grabbing her valuables and life jacket and heading up on deck to check out the iceberg. In the middle of the Bahamas.
I just adored this man. I feel lucky we were able to share our lives with him. My heart is with his children and grandchildren as well. They were all so devoted and attentive to him. Love you, Grandpa. Ninety-nine years well spent!