Memories of Grandpa

Memories of Grandpa June 22, 2010

When I think of my Grandpa, there is always a little bowl of fresh fruit on the table. Always classical music playing softly in the background. To this day, when the weather is beautiful, I have a desire to open all my windows find the local classical radio station, you know, with that announcer’s deep voice that almost puts you to sleep.

I think of the way he lets you have bites of his Neapolitan ice cream, even after you’ve brushed your teeth and are on your way to bed.
I think of that time he told us not to go into the upper level of the garage, and we did anyways because we were convinced that he was hiding something cool up there. Or the many many times he would come downstairs to go for his early morning swim, only to find us wide awake and begging to come along. I’m not sure if he was really in the mood to let his peaceful morning get interrupted by the enthusiasm of small children, but I remember he usually let us join him.

My Grandpa is proof that it is never too late. You can start over any time you choose. He began a new life in his 50’s. A new life where he never drank again, and didn’t live by anyone elses rules. He is proof that you can find profound happiness in the little things of life. He never seemed to ask IF he could do something, instead he asked HOW? And he pushed us to do the same.

He never stopped encouraging us to read and expand our minds, and he was patient (for the most part!) with my snotty know it all 13-year-old self, when I was convinced that I had it right. He never asked me to conform to his idea’s, but just to consider something besides that which I had already concluded. He wanted us to to try new foods, and then elected the most insecure person at the table to go pay the tab in the restaurant all by themselves.

I laughed when he was terrified of heights and urged us to stay away from the edge of the mountain pathway. And I cried when he drove 100 miles back to the McDonalds to retrieve the glasses and purse that I had forgotten.

When I think of my Grandpa, I remember him teaching us what different plants were called, where they could be found in the wild, and the names of the bugs that would eat them. I remember his insistence that we keep our elbows off the table at dinner, but at breakfast he could be found breaking his toast into bits and dropping them into the empty jelly jar to soak up the last bits of jam clinging to the sides. I remember his thick crazy hair that was always standing on end, and the way his coffe cup was forever sitting in the microwave, cold, waiting for him to remember where he had left it.

When I think of my Grandpa, I remember going to free nighttime concerts downtown, sneaking past him when he fell asleep in his easy chair reading the paper, and driving through the middle of nowhere to look at dilapidated old farmhouses and hear his dreams of how they could be repaired.

When I think of my Grandpa, I think of the smile he gives when he won’t show you the gumdrop he has in his hand, insisting that you let the flavour of the candy be a surprise, and then the feeling of his calloused thumb brushing against your face as he slips the gumdrop into your mouth when no one is looking. And then he winks, as if sneaking gumdrops is a secret between just you two.

Thinking of and praying for my Grandpa, who is in the final stages of cancer…
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