MY GRANDFATHER GEORGE LAST
by George Gregory Last
Many of the fondest memories of my life involve my Grandfather Last. Each summer I was able to spend several weeks in Gunnison with him and Grandma.
For as far back as I can remember, he used to take me to the store with him. First thing in the morning he would run the dust broom over the old hardwood aisles Grandpa would chase me up and down the aisles saying that the broom would east me. How delighted I was to slip in a side aisle and watch Grandpa and the man-eating broom race past. Later I would follow Grandpa around the store as an enthusiastic golfer. The pay was not too bad either. Grandpa was fond of telling about the time when he was pricing a new set of cowboy boots that had just come in and I said, "Grandpa, I'll bet that I'd look pretty good in a pair of boots like that." Naturally, when we got home that night I had a new pair of boots to show grandma. As much as I loved Grandpa, following him in the store soon became a boring affair as he always became involved in a prolonged conversation with someone who came into the store.
Later I came to realize that Grandpa involved himself in these protracted discussions because he truly enjoyed people. He was interested in them and was either anxious to discover ways he could benefit the Gunnison community or to get the other person to agree that Grandpa knew what was best for the area. One time he was running for the state legislature and was informed by one of his customers that grandpa would not get his vote. Grandpa told the customer, "Well, I appreciate your honesty, but your intelligence leaves a little to be desired."
When grandpa got into these long discussions I went upstairs to his office. He always had several unsold Christmas toys to play with and some candy to snack on. Late in the morning he would take me to the bank with him. On the way back we always stopped and he bought me a soda pop. Then it was back to the store until we went home together at lunchtime for some of grandma's cooking.
When I was older grandpa taught me how to drive. My first few times behind the wheel of that Scout were exhilarating for me and apparently for grandad too. The only time he ever used harsh words with me was during one of these little excursions.
After lunch and grandpa's daily nap we would either return to the store or grandpa would go back to work alone and grandma would take me to the swimming pool where grandpa would often join me after work.
Grandpa's day did not end when he closed the store at 6:00 P.M. As many of you know he kept his yard very tidy and always had a great garden. In fact, one of my earliest paid jobs was catching grasshoppers in that garden. He paid 5 cents for every two grasshoppers, but the real prize was a tomato worm which was worth 10 cents.
As I mentioned, grandpa loved people and was anxious to serve them. I remember him taking me to his Lion's club service projects or to the volunteer fire department meetings.
If grandpa liked people in general he especially liked the youth. This combined with his life long love of sports was a great combination for grandpa, the youth of this town, and me. I loved going with grandpa to watch his teams play in Ephraim or Richfield. Also since he had the team's equipment, he had plenty of bats with which I could practice my hitting when he would pitch to me.
He once made a special trip to Hurricane to see me pitch in a high school game. I was proud to have my grandfather there and I don't think Ih in a high school game. I was proud to have my grandfather there and I don't think I have pitched a better game before or since.
Although grandpa was very service oriented, many here probably did not know him as a very religious man. Yet, he could not have been more proud of me when I became the first of his grandchildren to become a missionary. Also, it may surprise many to know that he wrote me fairly regularly. Early in my mission, I wrote Grandpa and told him how much I would enjoy going to the temple with him and Grandma when I returned home. Sure enough, about two weeks after I arrived home, the three of us were able to go to the Manti Temple together.
After my mission, Grandpa continued to support me in all my activities. He let my wife and me use his house to store some of our extra wedding gifts. He made a trip to Logan to see us when I was in school there. When I got into medical school, he was not only proud, but was also anxious to provide me with any material support I might need.
I will always be grateful that I knew Grandpa as a vigorous, interested, concerned, and active person. I hope that my cousins have a similar memory of him. Also, I am thankful for the knowledge that my children will someday have a chance to know this man as I do.
May 27, 1987