A short story of a Girl and her Grandpa, her greatest adviser.

My Grandfather, Henry LeRoy Tanner, encourages me to follow my gut and go after my aspirations.

A little bit about him:

  • He is as tall and dark as Frankenstein himself.
  • He has the sense of humor of a 25 year old, and a smile as uninhibited as a newborn child.
  • His stories captivate your full attention, bringing your imagination to life.
  • His imagery is as vivid as the Colorado sunset.
  • He is a man who has loved and lost.
  • He has seen war in Vietnam, starvation in India, and hardships at home.
  • Former Navy, Peace Corps., and Engineer
  • Now, he is a retired-rock climbing-world traveling-story telling-father-grandfather.

When I was a young girl, my Grandfather returned from one of his world adventures in Australia with a special gift for me, a handmade boomerang. Legends say that the ancient weapon of the Aboriginals will return to your grips if thrown properly. Immediately, my Grandfather and I went to the neighborhood park to give it a try. I remember the day; the sky was crisp, the wind brushed the trees and the sun warmed my face.

My Grandfather demonstrated how to throw the boomerang and gave it to me to try. He stood back. I cranked my arm back and pushed the boomerang through the air as hard as I could. It went flying… soaring through the pale blue sky and into the trees. As it disappeared into the distance, my hope for its return also disappeared. I realized that it would not return. I felt the weight of my failure, I had lost my treasure.

My Grandfather giggled and the search began. We did not find my boomerang that day, but my Grandfather said something to me that has stuck with me through the years. Reassuringly, my grandfather put his hand on my shoulder and said “It’s okay, Hita. We know it’s out there and perhaps one day your boomerang will find you, if you wish it.”

My hope returned, as well as my smile. I see this experience as a metaphor for life. I am ever searching for my boomerang, taking each failure and using it to drive my ambition and my desire to touch the world as my Grandfather has; with kindness, grit, and humor. I am so grateful for the love, support, and magic that my Grandfather has brought into my life. It is because of his wisdom and sense of humor that I am able to confront my life with the spirit of a warrior. It is because of his guidance that I have been able to blaze trails where I had never been before.