Faith Featured

A Tribute

Written by Sue Harrison

Written by Sue Harrison

Five-year-old Brock was in a slightly pensive mood as he told his mom, “When I get older, I might change my name .”

Brock had never seemed unhappy with his name, so his mother Lori was a bit surprised. “Change your name?”



“What would you change it to?”


Brock’s answer brought tears to Lori’s eyes. You see, Brock’s special name for his grandfather – Lori’s dad –  is Pa.


I’ve known “Pa” for many years. He and his wife Judy are good friends of ours and also cousins through my husband’s family.  So I think I’m safe to say that Brock’s declaration has to be one of the most beautiful compliments Frank – oops, Pa – has ever received. Imagine being so special to your grandson that he wants to change his name to yours.

Imagine being so eloquent – when you’re only five years old – that you can express your love in such a unique way.

Sometimes I’m not very good at telling people how much they mean to me. I’m so busy, so harried, so involved in my own life that I greet friends and family with a distracted smile,  and I don’t even stop to chat. I doubt that any quick smile is as effective as spoken words. Why don’t I say what’s in my heart? “I think you’re fabulous,” or “I wish I could be more like you.” 

A friend of mine, Bill Giovannetti, has written an incredible book entitled, Secrets to a Happy Life. Here’s a quote, “When you live for yourself, life makes no sense. Your own fat face gets in the way of your sense of purpose, your self-worth, and ultimately, your happiness.”

I intend to take Bill’s words to heart and, while I’m at it, to remember what I learned from a very wise five-year-old — who someday just might change his name to Pa.

What about you? Is a name change in your future?

(Photographs used by permission, copyright, 2013, Lori Nixon.)

About the author

Sue Harrison

BIO: Novelist Sue Harrison is best known for her Alaska trilogies. Her novels, national and international bestsellers, have been published in more than 20 countries in 13 different languages. Her novel Mother Earth Father Sky was named by the American Library Association as a Best Books for Young Adults. Sue lives with her husband in Michigan, but has family here in Nebraska and love Nebraska’s rich history. She is currently writing romantic suspense for the inspirational market. Catch up with Sue on her website and blog – .


  • I never though of changing my name even though I never liked mine. The feeling for Grandpa Bill was the same. I had two different fathers growing up, each for a very short time. I guess my Mom chose badly. But the influence in my life came from living with my Grandparents and working with my Grandfather. We milked morning and night and spent time talking and he sang (Very well) songs of the past. I enjoyed them but never committed any to memory. We put up fences together. He wouldn’t let me use the chain saw to angle cut the top of the post. “Use the Bow saw, chain saw is intended for trees. We bailed hay all summer. He on the tractor, me with the pitch fork following along. Then me in the hay and he at the elevator. We cut Christmas tree for months. He found them , cut them, and hollered “Ayeee” I found the tree and when I had 5-6 I would drag them to the trailer and stack them. I split the wood for the wood stove, I filled the wood box every night and I sat behind him carving while he smoked his one pipe. He seldom had a harsh word for me except when I deserved it. He taught me a work ethic like none other. He also taught me kindness, he instilled a love of music which remains today, and he demonstrated patience.
    His last words to me were ” I hope your in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows your dead”. He had just played with my children, and we were saying goodbye. He knew, I’m sure. His teaching lives in me still today. My favorite thing to do is work. Also, when it’s time to relax, I relax with my loved ones. Thank you Gramps, I Love You! See you when I get there. Dan

  • Oh Dan, what an entirely beautiful tribute. I have tears in my eyes as I sit here typing this reply. What a blessing this man was in your life. Thank you for sharing from the heart the wisdom of a great man.