Recently a friend wrote on her facebook page that we need people of good character in our government. It occurred to me that I hadn’t heard that phrase for a while. It doesn’t seem to be as important as it once was.

I was very close to my grandparents. They lived in the next town and I spent a lot of time with them. I may have felt especially close to my grandmother because my father spent the last three months of his life in the hospital and my grandmother took care of us while my mother was there each day. I was four months old when he died.

Me with my grandparents and 25 years later my son with them. One of the things I am happiest about in life is that they were able to see my children.

I was raised that the most important thing about you is your character. It meant that you had integrity, were always honest and responsible, and you showed respect to everyone, even those you didn’t like. You didn’t say  mean things about people behind their backs or gossip about them. Of course there were slip ups. There still are! I would be painting too unrealistic a picture if I said there weren’t. But they were occasional slip ups, not the way one deliberately chose to live one’s life. (See, I still have to be honest.)  🙂   I never thought much of it. It just was. The friends I chose and still choose were also raised that way.

My grandfather during WWII. He was also in WWI training to be a pilot but fortunately the war ended before he completed his training.

I only saw my grandmother mad once. She was telling me about the time a man came to the house during the war and said he was re-possessing their car. She angrily told him that her husband was away from his family in Europe serving his country and that he always paid his bills on time. I realized that all those decades later she was still angry that someone had assailed his character. She finished the story by saying that they didn’t even have a car then. I laughed but she didn’t. How I wished I could have been there and matter-of-factly told him that he could take it.

My grandfather wrote the chorus of a country song from his grave. Which is curious also because I am quite sure he never listened to a word of country music. I listen to it all the time but prefer the classics since so much now is just pop. A few years ago I heard a song called “Something to be Proud Of” by  Montgomery Gentry. I listen to it on youtube occasionally and always get teary. Every single thing that is said in the chorus were things my grandfather said or demonstrated in my presence. He used to have me count the flags that were out around holidays when we took my grandmother on errands. When each of our children was born he told my husband that when his children were born his father told him that on that day he was the richest man in New London and that on this day my husband was the richest man in Glastonbury.

We were supposed to live “a life you can hang your hat on” as is sung in the song. Not my family’s words exactly but the meaning was the same.

Shouldn’t we have leaders that have similar good character??  Maybe I should send them the youtube link.



8 thoughts on “Character

  1. Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

    I do love this post and thank you for taking to write it. I was close to my grandparents as well because my father just left one day. I spent every summer from 0-18 on their farm with them. I remember he would load a lawnmower in the car and go to various cemeteries to mow family members’ graves. And, if there was a grave that looked like no one was tending it, he would just take care of it. They lost their two youngest sons in WWII, never got over the grief, but kept on keeping on and were valuable members of their community. I can’t put a date to it, but at some point Washington, DC, lost their character, integrity, and respect for themselves as well as their constituents. I hate to think this, but I’m not sure there is any bringing them back. I think they are all too far gone. Maybe we could get Scottie to beam them all up to another planet, and we could start job interviews with a slate of requirements that includes character and a desire to live a life they can hang a hat on. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Betsy Alspach Post author

      They lost 2 sons and were still able to get up and contribute to their community. What tremendous role models. I am sure your visits helped them as much as you. Thank you for sharing your story. What fortitude.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Laurie Graves

    Alas. Just read a piece about how modesty and humility are valuable but underrated traits for leaders great and small. I think we are very far from that right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. LuAnn & Pam

    Hi Betsy, I came across your “character” post while scanning our joint email account.  I was attracted to the subject line and started reading – I like what you have to say about character and what that meant to your grandmother and grandfather. And I’ve heard the song before and enjoyed it.  A few years ago my sister posted the Tim McGraw song “Humble and Kind” and I hadn’t heard it, but it has a similar message and I love the video. I posted it on my facebook page then and it has been there ever since. I go to it some days, just to feel the way it helps me feel. I think I will login and repost it now so it is first in line! 🙂 I thought you might enjoy it. Hope you are well and enjoying life.  LuAnn and I are doing well. Happy Holidays!  All my best, Pam Edwards Tim McGraw – Humble And Kind (Official Video)

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    | | | | Tim McGraw – Humble And Kind (Official Video) Humble and Kind is off Tim’s album DAMN COUNTRY MUSIC: Get the “Humble … | |



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Betsy Alspach Post author

      Yes, I know that song. It is very good. He and his wife, Faith Hill, recorded another song about respecting women and how to talk to them. I think he is using his fame well to try to influence people to treat each other decently. Have a nice Christmas with your new little guy. I bet he loves the Christmas tree!



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