This past Friday night, around 10pm Pacific time, our beloved Grandpa Carl Edwin ‘Bud’ Hornor passed peacefully away, and joined his precious wife of 64 years, Katye, who passed away two years ago, on the other side.
It’s hard for me to know where to start in talking about what Gpa meant to me, to us. More than just being the beloved patriarch of a grand family, he was an amazing man. He married his teenage sweetheart, fought in two wars, helped raise 6 kids… He was a lover of literature and music, of culture and history, of sports, and of his family. As he and Gma got a little older and retired, they traveled the world, bird-watched in the mountains around Santa Cruz, and celebrated as their family grew to include more and more grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
But beyond their list of accomplishments, more important than the things Gma and Gpa did, is the long and beautiful list of things they represented, believed in, and passed on to all of us. When my brother Tim and I went backpacking for a few days with Gpa in the Sierra Nevadas, we learned from him how to appreciate nature & wildlife, roughing it, cold baths in mountain lakes, and Spam. When we listened to old Smothers Brothers albums with Gma and Gpa in the amazing home they built together in Bonny Doon, we learned about humor, both subtle and not so… When Gma cooked, and how she cooked!, we ate and ate, and learned how to commune around the dinner table, how to cook for mobs, and how to throw together feasts from whatever was left over in the fridge. When Gpa made each of us “inspiration” tapes full of amazing music from the classical greats, we were reminded to continue practicing our instruments and pursuing passionate performances of our own. When Gpa popped fried octopus down his gullet with ease (usually chased with his beloved buttermilk), we were taught to eat with abandon, to try anything once. As Gma and Gpa aged so gracefully, loving each other and their enormous family, we learned to appreciate every opportunity we had to get together with them, with everyone, to laugh, play, sleep all together in often very close quarters, to never play boys v. girls in Trivial Pursuit, to tease each other mercilessly (what was up with those crazy singing boxer shorts, Steve?) and always with love – to be friends with our family, above all. Every new addition to the family was always family – from the start, no questions asked, unconditionally.
Gma and Gpa taught us to live well, to work hard, to be our best, to accept and love everyone around us, to embrace every opportunity, and everyone, with passion and peace. They taught us not by telling us – but by exemplifying that behavior in every day life. They lived it, and now, it’s our turn.
We miss the heck out of both of them. But the baton has been passed. In honor of Gma and Gpa, we must choose to live fully and passionately, and pass these values on to our children. I wish our yet-to-be-born twins could have known their great-grandparents personally. But I have confidence that, even without meeting them, our kids will know them by the way we now choose to live and love. That legacy will go on for many generations.