11 things my grandpa taught me

As I wrote about a couple of times last month, my grandfather passed away last month. Many years ago he asked me to speak at his funeral, which I realized during the week of his death was truly an honor. At his funeral I talked about what my grandfather taught me as I grew up -- some just very simple things; others are very valuable life lessons that I'll never forget. In no particular order, here are 11 things he taught me. (You can read my previous "11 things" posts here.) 1. Don't put rubbing alcohol on an open wound. He tried to do that once after wrecking my bike.

2. Don't put ketchup on a steak. Salt and pepper is all you need.

3. Walk a dog. He adored my uncle's dog Buddy and always took him for walks. That dog was the best dog ever on a leash, all because my grandpa knew how to walk her. I struggle with this lesson a bit today, but I still learned some great tips by watching him.

4. Take care of a lawn. He had the greenest grass in the neighborhood, without having to water it at all times.

5. Stay loyal to a team. My grandfather had great respect for Vince Lombardi and Joe Gibbs. And you better believe he gave me a hard time when I hopped on the Cowboys bandwagon for one season.

6. Make a tie look good. The tie I wore at his funeral was his. He wasn't much of a tie guy, though, but he knew the time and place to dress up.

7. Keep a car clean. As a former car salesman, he took care of his vehicles like you wouldn't believe. They always looked new. (As I look at my vehicles and realize they need to be cleaned.)

8. Be a family guy. No explanation really needed -- he was a family man.

9. Smile at work. This is something I didn't really learn until this past month looking through photo albums. I don't remember much about his working days, and I'm sure he might have complained with the best of him, but even in photos at work he was smiling. I realized a lot the week he passed about myself and some things I need to do in my career.

10. That golf is a waste of time. He got golf clubs as a retirement gift. I think he golfed 2 or 3 times, if that. I tried golfing for a few years, but gave it up.

11. The most important lesson my grandfather taught me -- how to be happy. In all of his pictures throughout his life, he always had a genuine smile on his face. Life is a lot easier when you can put a smile on.