Grandpa: someone I admire


We all have those in our lives we admire, but it's not often we find ourselves in the spotlight. This essay is courtesy of the columnist's granddaughter.

Zoe Osborne (shown at left with her guinea pig Gabriella) is 14 years old and is currently in the eigth grade. Her father, David M. Osborne, is my son. She prepared this as an assignment for school, and I’m proud to note that Zoe earned an “A” for the essay that appears below. —CAO

Magnetism is a word that may be used to describe a pull or attraction toward someone you admire. This is what I feel toward my grandpa. He suffers from Parkinson’s disease, which I believe makes his qualities stand out even more. He’s a professor at the University of Minnesota in the field of veterinary medicine. I admire him because he’s generous, determined and loving. The following is an explanation of how he manifests these qualities.

First, my grandpa is extremely generous, which really draws me to him. To begin, he got my family tickets to Coldplay this summer. In fact, he got these tickets at a concert to which my parents were invited by him to come along. Next, he often gives my sister and me gifts when we go to visit him. When we were younger he’d give us books and toys. You could go into his office and see all the gifts he bought, not for himself, but to give to the kids of the family in the future. Now he often gives us money to spend any way we wish. I have bought a lot of the things I own with that money. Also, there’s the time when he bought a boat to help out a man who couldn’t sell it. He didn’t even keep it but instead gave it to my family to enjoy.

Then there was the example of a penniless elderly lady who was abandoned by her husband. All she had was a large, 70-year-old parrot named “Polly” that she dearly loved. But with no money she could no longer keep her companion of 70 years. So she decided to sell this magnificent bird. Unfortunately no one wanted to buy him. That is, no one except my grandpa. After determining that the best quality of life for this parrot was with the poor lady, he offered her a fair price. But before she would sell Polly, she wanted to be sure that my grandpa knew how to properly care for this bird. When she learned that he was a veterinarian with a PhD who taught at the University of Minnesota, she decided that he could probably care for Polly.

When she brought Polly to her new home, my grandpa asked her who could provide the best quality of life for Polly. “I am that person,” she firmly said. Then my grandpa asked her if she could take care of Polly for him. He paid her the amount she had requested after securing her promise that she would provide Polly with TLC for the rest of Polly’s life.

Yet another example of his altruistic generosity is when he bought my family and me an antique piano. Since no one in our family knows how to play it, he wants to pay for our music lessons given by a professional pianist. Clearly, being generous to other people is a goal in his life.

Next, determination is another one of my grandpa’s main qualities. To begin, he still goes to work even though he’s very sick. He has Parkinson’s disease but is determined not to let Parkinson’s disease have him. But his everyday life can be extremely difficult and painful. I think if I were him I would just stay home, but he keeps doing what he loves.

Also, he drove his car for quite a long time even though he was sick. This was sometimes difficult for him because this disease causes him not to be able to control his movements. He kept driving though even when he was sick until it was clear that for safety reasons he needed to stop. Last, he didn’t use a wheelchair for the longest time. This chronic illness is progressive. At first he would lose his balance and sometimes fall and end up crawling to get from place to place. He insisted on not using a wheelchair until it was impossible to get through the day without one. As you have seen, my grandpa is determined to never give up or let this world and its problems get the best of him.

Finally, my grandpa is an extremely loving person, which he manifests through his love for animals. To begin, he takes in animals that are abused or mistreated. Whenever he loses a dog or cat, he doesn’t go to the pet store to get another one but instead finds an animal that needs to be nurtured with endless love and patience with the goal of gaining the adopted creature’s trust. Then the emotional scars may heal. An example of this is his dog Sadie, a bloodhound that had a part of her ear missing and leg-hold trap scars surrounding her right rear leg.

While he was waiting to get his therapy dog from a nonprofit group called Can Do Canines, I asked him what kind of dog he hoped he’d get paired with. In response he stated that he couldn’t choose a favorite because God hadn’t. Last, he did everything he could to save his bloodhound who developed bloat. Since he couldn’t carry her to the car to take her to the hospital he called 911. I would’ve been embarrassed but he loved her so much.

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