On October 31, 1916, at age five, my grandfather, Ernest Hedges almost died. You see, he was all dressed up for Halloween. Ready to go to the annual Halloween party at the one-room schoolhouse, but a fever landed him in bed.
His mother and eight siblings, all except his big sister Pearl left without him.
He gradually grew worse. His skin turned as orange as a pumpkin and his fever spiked way beyond an acceptable level. Papa Hedges rushed him by carriage to the nearest hospital in town.
The ER doctor knew right away the problem. A ruptured appendix. By the grace of God, Grandpa Ernie received life-saving surgery. He recovered in the hospital for a month.
Missing Halloween had a huge impact on Grandpa. Even in his elder years he still loved to dress up.
Grandpa lived through the World War I, The Depression, and World War II, in which he was finally drafted.
In Italy, he met his beautiful wife, Cina.
After they both returned to the states, they built a home and a life. My father, Jonathan was the youngest of four children.
When my father was five years old, they moved from Madison Wisconsin to Melbourne, Florida. Grandpa was a baker and opened Hedges Bakery in Downtown Melbourne. Grandpa Ernie did the baking and Nona Cina decorated the cakes beautifully.
Grandpa and Nona’s family grew.
But Nona developed a cough that wouldn’t go away. Doctors confirmed she had lung cancer, though she never smoked a day in her life.
Six weeks after her diagnosis, she was gone.
In her memory, Grandpa Ernie wrote, Flowers for Cina, his life story, at the age of 92.
Many birthdays later, at the age of 105, Grandpa celebrated with his children, grandchildren, and twenty great-grandchildren.
Only a week later, on Halloween, October 31, 2016, exactly 100 years after he almost died as a child, Grandpa Ernie got a cold, which turned into pneumonia.
At the blessed age of 105 years old, Grandpa passed into the loving arms of Jesus.
Halloween was a special day for Grandpa. It’s a day he was spared and given an extra 100 years to live. To share the love of Jesus, inspire his family and friends, and mentor his many adopted “grandkids.”
I will always remember Halloween as a special day for a very wonderful grandpa.