Monday, November 19, 2007

What Makes a Man?

What makes a man?.....Have you ever asked yourself that question? Society in general gives us it's view of what a man should be from TV and movies. This is not what I think a man is or should be. I have discussed this with a friend of mine (Curt) often. We used to discuss this at work while we babysat a wireless system that was having issues. We were passing the time while we waited for the system to break. We thought we would try to use the time for something good, so we discussed things like this often. During our conversations we came up with several things that we thought made a man "a man".
Well recently, I think I came a little closer to figuring out what makes a man a real man. There is no perfect version of a man walking this Earth today, but there are many fine examples. I realized what a great example I had my entire life up until now. With the recent passing of my grandfather, I realize that many of those things that Curt and I discussed were found in him.
Many of those things were value related. I had a chance to look back at my grandpa's life the last couple of days and it hit me that he had many of these characteristics that make the kind of man we were discussing. Number one, he loved his wife very much. She was by no means a perfect woman and he was by no means a perfect man. None of us are, but he loved his wife unconditionally. My grandmother died in 2004. They were married for 58 years. They raised 4 children and lost one at a very young age. He and my grandmother had experiences that many of us would consider overwhelming.

My grandfather worked hard all of his life to take care of them. Working in a factory by day and farming on the nights and weekends. He built two houses during his life for his family. They may have not been the most beautiful mansions in the finest neighborhoods, but they were very nice modest structures. It is still a dream of mine to do this for my family one day. I was four years old when he was building his last house in 1976. I can remember going out to the farm in the evening hours so my dad could help my grandpa build his house. That house has grown slightly over the years and has been a place for many family gatherings over the years. I have talked with my grandpa many times over the years about how he built his house. He has shared some details with me about how he did it. He just told me recently that it took him two years to put the stone on the outside of the house. He told me that if I were to ever do that, make certain that you put the big stones on the bottom, because they get very heavy when you have to lift them up high! I did a quick survey of the outside of his house, there were a few big stones near the top, although I am sure he put them up there no problem and also without complaining. 

He came from a time when education was not highly valued. He never completed high school. He told me about the time that I graduated from high school that he wished he would have finished high school. I don't think that made him any less of a success, or any less of a man. He could fix or build anything. I remember a story he told us about his car breaking down on the way home from work one day. His tie rod end went out on his car. He happened to break down next to an old broken wire fence. He snipped some of the wire off of the fence, wired the broken piece of the car back together and drove home where he could fix it. What would most of us done? Probably called a tow truck and sat and waited for a few hours and then paid way too much to get our car fixed. I guess today we have more money than brains!
He loved sports and coached baseball for many years. He even coached me for a short time during my babe ruth years. The First National Bank Babe Ruth baseball team…..
As the Reverend Lloyd Hall put it yesterday, he died with his boots on....There was no better way to put it. My grandpa died in a tractor accident at 82 years old doing what he loved.....working. That funeral service yesterday was the most uplifting funeral service I had ever attended. I wish I had an audio version to play back for all of you to hear. My written words would not do it justice. There is hope in an eternal life...... I am just glad I was there to experience it.

So what makes a man? I still don't know the complete answer to this, but I do know that it includes commitment to your wife, taking care your family, and working hard. That doesn't make a good Hollywood movie, but it does leave an impression on a grandson.....

Here is his obituary courtesy of the Anderson Herald Bulletin:
Published November 14, 2007 08:27 pm - Robert Bryce Bolt
Robert Bryce Bolt

HARTFORD CITY – Robert “Bob” Bryce Bolt, 82, died as a result from a tractor accident this week at his residence in Blackford County.
Bob was born on Oct. 8, 1925, in Lapel, the son of Oscar Cleveland Bolt and Clara (McGuire) Bolt.
Bob attended Anderson High School and moved in Blackford County from Anderson in 1965. He was a Blackford County farmer and retired from Container Corp. of America in Anderson in 1987, after 41 years of service.

Bob married Wilma Jean (Gulley) Bolt on Nov. 17, 1946, in Madison County. Wilma preceded Bob in death on Sept. 22, 2004.
Bob enjoyed farming and loved baseball. In his younger years, he was a Babe Ruth coach.
Bob will be sadly missed by his sons, Dennis B. (wife, Pamela D.) Bolt of Hartford City, Dick D. (wife, Vicki S.) Bolt of Hartford City, Darrin T. (wife, Monica R.) Bolt of Fairmount; daughter, Deborah H. (husband, Carl E.) Volz of Brownstown, Ind.; grandchildren, Traci Street, Shelby Bolt, Teresa Bonewit, Rick Bolt, Karl Volz, Robert Volz, Robert Volz, William Volz, Brittany Bolt, Brandon Bolt, Ashley Bolt, Kayla Martin, Kristin Martin; 12 great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandchild; and several nieces and nephews.
Bob is preceded in death by his parents; his wife; a daughter, Denise L. Bolt; brothers William Bolt, Curtis Bolt and Wayne Bolt; and sisters Betty Reeves and Doris Morgan.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Keplinger Funeral Home with Rev. Lloyd Hall officiating.
Visitation will be from noon to 2 p.m. Friday at Keplinger Funeral Home, 509 N. High St., Hartford City.
Interment will follow at Anderson Memorial Park Cemetery in Anderson.
Pallbearers will be Randy Bonewit, Rick Bolt, Karl Volz, Robert Volz, William Volz and Brandon Bolt.

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Brenda said...

Great tribute to your grandpa. I think he must have been very proud of you. Thank you.

Darrin said...

Rick - Nicely done.

wolfenberger said...

Rick- God bless you man! I am without words.

The Elements at Eumundi said...

Hi Rick, Nice Blog. Just to let you know, I'm Rick Bolt also. I ahve a family of 9 children (8 boys and 1 girl) and i'm in Australia.... Funny how things can be so similar. The world really is a small place.

uggen18 said...


Nice tribute to your grandfather. Your grandfather "technically" gave me my first coaching job at 16 when Darrin and I helped him with FNB in 1985. I have coached baseball every year since but one (1990 I think).

Your grandfather was always a joy to talk to too. He cared about kids and his family very much. He will always be missed.

Haven't seen you in years. Hope all is going well.

Tony Uggen

uggen18 said...

Check that. Darrin and I started coaching with Robert in 1981. It was after our sophomore year in high school!