Today it has been 16 years since my grandfather passed away. I can recall that day with crystal clarity. It was the first time that someone close to me died. And it was my grandpa. He had pretty bad heart issues and was only 56 years old when he died. His first heart attack was at age 37. He was gone too soon. On a wintry and blustery day.
So many memories. Oh so many. Ice fishing and having to pee in the bucket. Ice fishing, period. What memories. He took myself and my cousin Kim strawberry picking when we were like 10 or 11, and Kim was so thirsty...he kept asking if he was because she had too much to drink the night before. Stupid at the time, but one of those memories that has stuck with me. I recall wearing my black dress shoes to his house and he would get so upset because there would be black marks on the flooring. He also got me to try beets for the first time. And he loved butter pecan ice cream. I have that on occasion when I am thinking of him. Collecting maple syrup with him in the woods, and having him yell if we drank too much from the tree..."You'll get the runs" he'd say. He brought a lamb to my school for a show & tell things.
The man loved to fart. And thought it was hilarious to sneak up and drop a silent one on an old lady at the local grocery store. Then he'd walk away and everyone would look at the old lady. His farts were almost legendary.
My grandpa, with all his faults, was always there for me. He drove a van of giggling, and I'm sure very annoying, teenage girls home from cheer leading camp. For me. Of course, he embarrassed the hell out of my by talking about the roadkill we passed along our travels. "There's your dinner, everyone got a straw?" I about died. But now I look back and laugh.
He died just after the holidays, but I have no recollection of that last year of holidays with him. My last memory is seeing him in the audience at my holiday choir concert and the pride in his face. He never missed a show. That meant so much to me, still does. I'm choking up just feeling that memory.
I met Jason about 6 months after my grandpa died. I so wish he could have met Jason. And my children. I know he'd be so proud of them, and I wish my kids could have known his farts and his dorky look. That would have meant so much to me.
Love you gramps.