SHEPHERDSVILLE - Crystal and John Kesler were all smiles at the Bullitt County Judge/Executive’s office.
John is the grandfather, Crystal the granddaughter. They lived together until recently when John moved to Bowling Green.
The closeness of their relationship is obvious, never more so than when Crystal wrote about John, earning top honors in the 2009 Bullitt County Grandparent of the Year Essay Contest sponsored by AARP and the Kentucky Retired Teachers Association.
Crystal received a framed certificate and qualified for the state contest. The state winner receives a $100 savings bond.
A fifth grade student at Brooks Elementary, Crystal wrote her essay after selecting the subject from a list of topics distributed by teacher Sharon Roberson.
In the essay Crystal focused on why John was loving, caring and respectful. She wasn’t too surprised when she won the contest.
“I know him more and he’s really special,” she said.
Crystal is one of John’s 10 grandchildren. He said many of them were still young and that he spent more time with Crystal and her sister, Mikayla.
“We’ve had a lot of opportunity to spend time together,” he said.
John mentioned that his wife, Betty, was very close with their daughter (and Crystal’s mom) Karen, which first led to extra time with the grandchildren.
John and Crystal also grew closer as Karen assisted when Betty was ill prior to her death. John’s son (Crystal’s uncle) also passed away around the same time.
“It’s made the family closer,” said John. “It’s helped to be around them.”
Karen referred to John in the role of a surrogate father for Crystal.
“He’s the older daddy,” Crystal said with a big grin.
In her essay Crystal said that John always made her smile even when she wasn’t feeling happy. With some humor that was evident throughout the family, John was pleased to make his granddaughter happier.
“She’s got a beautiful smile,” he added. “She’s a very serious person as a rule. Most of our close time was in the morning when she goes to school. She’s kind of grumpy in the mornings, so I make her smile and get her off on the right foot.”
John also referred to Crystal as “old for her age,” saying she had a mind far advanced for a 10-year-old.
“Crystal is very unique, she can go head-to-head with you when it comes to logic,” he said. “Her and Mikayla are older than their years. They have the giggles but they can sit with you and their logic is way beyond their years.”
Crystal added a response to the many serious conversations with her grandfather at the dinner table.
“He’s hard-headed,” she said with big laugh.
In her essay, Crystal said John was very respectful of others’ opinions and always listening. She detailed the love, care and respect John had for others, especially for her.
Now that John lives in Bowling Green he still finds time to visit his family as often as possible.
“Crystal still looks forward to seeing him,” said Karen. “She was up late last night because she was so excited.”
Crystal appreciated her grandfather’s long drive to be with her when she received her award from Judge Melanie Roberts and local Grandparent of the Year contest representative Janet Richardson.
“I’m worth it,” she said, flashing a grand smile at John.
“Yes you are,” John replied, smiling back.
The Bullitt County 2009 AARP/KRTA Grandparent of the Year Essay Contest winning essay by Crystal Kesler:
Need someone loving, caring and respectful for the grandparent of the year. I have someone like that. He lives with me. It’s my grandpa John Kesler.
My grandpa shows his loving by hugging and kissing me good night and good morning. He’s loving because he’s nice to me and my family.
He likes to make me smile because he thinks it’s pretty. If you aren’t smiling when you walk in the room he’ll make a joke to make you smile.
He likes to show his love through a lot of things. Sometimes it’s a present like a stuffed animal. Other times right out of the sky like a bird flying to you he’ll give you a hug and make your day the most perfect one in a while.
John Kesler, my grandpa, is also caring. He cares for everyone. He shows his caring by holding you when you’re sad. When you’re scared, he’ll talk smoothly and tell you it’s alright. He’ll know these things by looking at you. If he tells you he’s going to do something he tries to follow through and he’ll make it up to you. Even after losing a wife and son he can still make everyone o.k. at the end of the day. He cares for all human beings, family or not.
Lastly my grandpa John Kesler is respectful. He listens to your thoughts. If you have a good idea and if you want some help, he will help you carry it out. If you are upset and you want to talk he’ll be right there sitting next to you. If you have an opinion he won’t say that’s not true. When you want to be alone he’ll respect your wish. When you want someone to hold you and tell you it’s alright you know he’ll be like a kangaroo and spring into action. He shows his respect for you when he tries to comfort and make sure you’re happy. My grandpa, John Kesler, is really respectful.
That’s why my grandpa that is loving, caring, and respectful should be the grandparent of the year.