It was a cold, windy, wet October day in 1980 when they buried my Grandfather. His grave is a few miles south of the little village of Chatham,Ohio, where he had entered the world seventy-two years earlier. He was buried within sight of the graves of his father and grandfather. To the west the first gentle hills of Appalachia rise from the earth. Just beyond them was the farm that was to me as much a part of him as the way he walked, though it came into his possession later in life, after his children were grown with children of their own.
I visited my grandfather’s grave on a quiet afternoon the next spring. At the time I was a newlywed full of life and young. I lived with my young wife, Lois, in the western part of Ohio. I pastored a small church there in the countryside of Mercer County. While I stood there remembering him and quietly pondering time and eternity, living and dying, I noticed that the sod that had been patched in over his grave had not yet taken hold. The grass around the grave was green with life, but the sod was brown, and dry, and dead. A passage from the Psalm 103 came to my heart as I stood there that day:
As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
And its place remembers it no more.
But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting
On those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children’s children
Grandpa’s life on earth was spent. He would no longer be the heart and life of our family gatherings. He would no longer be there to tell us of the adventures of his youth or of his exploits in life. From now on those who loved him would have to gather his stories like long-forgotten treasures from the attic, to tell them again in the best way we could.
I have kept his memory alive in my heart, his children and my cousins will not forget him as long as they are alive, but soon it will be difficult to find evidence on earth of his life. As the scripture says; ” – its place remembers it no more – ” Like blossoms that fell from the tree almost thirty years ago, he is gone. When my generation is gone, others may read of Kenneth Dale Pierpont, and few will be alive who remember him, but the mercy of the Lord is forever and His righteousness can endure in his children’s children. By the grace of God, righteousness will live on through generations of sons and daughters — all those who, like he did, fear God and put their faith in Christ alone.
In May, our first grandchild, a great-great grandson was born into his family. Some day I will take Kyle Kenneth to that place between Chathum and Newark, Ohio. I will hold show him his great, great grandfather’s grave. I will take his hand and walk him across the road the see the graves of Jerome and Charles Pierpont. I will remind him that there are others who will follow him and, though some day they will be forgotten, their righteous can endure–passed on from generation to generation by the mercy of the Lord to such as keep his covenant, and to those who remember His commandments and do them. (see Psalm 103:18)
I cannot hope to keep the blossom of my frail life alive for long, but I can live and pray every day I am on the earth that my son’s sons will know my grandfather’s God.
Kenneth Dale Pierpont 1908-1980
Kenneth Frederick Pierpont 1934-
Kenneth Lee Pierpont 1958-
Kyle Dale Pierpont 1981-
Kyle Kenneth Pierpont 2007-
July 3, 2007