Grampy and I used to joke that he was the “meanest man in the world.” He had a terse, curmudgeonly affect, but I saw right through him. He was a coconut person...hard and a bit rough around the edges, but sweet at his core. Whenever we got into arguments, I’d threaten to break his hip and we’d both laugh about it and forget about whatever it was we were fighting about. I remember our rides to the Palmer Ave schoolhouse when I was in kindergarten. He practiced odd and even numbers with me, sang the alphabet song and taught me The Lord’s Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance. When I was in elementary school, even though he had just worked a long, grueling shift at the paper mill, Grampy made time to read The Babysitter’s Club series with me to improve my reading skills. In retrospect, I’m sure that somehow influenced my decision to become a childcare provider later in life. He shared a warmth and tenderness with me that he only reserved for a select few. On the weekends, he would make “Grampy Cakes” for breakfast for us, and they took up the entire plate so we’d have to have our eggs and bacon on a side dish. Every time I’d leave the house, he’d always shout to me, “Slow and easy! Take care of yourself. I love you, Darlin’.” He always made sure to tell me that he loved me, several times before I closed the door behind me. On multiple occasions, he would introduce me as his, “Number One.” It was a little embarrassing, but it secretly made my heart shine. Grampy once told me that when my father (his son, Jerry) passed away, he made a promise to himself to take care of me to the best of his ability. My only regret is that I wasn’t able to take care of him in the same way. One of the best pieces of advice my grandfather gave me was, “It takes all kinds of people to make up the world.” He loved his family so deeply and only ever wanted us to have a better life than he had. He once told me, “I believe we were put on this earth to make the world a better place than when we found it.” I love my Grampy with every fiber of my being and I miss him very much.
Posted on September 27, 2018 11:09 PM