My Grandfather died on Saturday.
When I was little, The Grandfather took on mythical proportions. I was sure he was a rich business man who intimidated and ruled the whole world. He only furthered this perception by signing all my birthday cards "GRANDfather", because he was decidedly grand. He lived in a "fancy" house and owned a grand piano - two irrefutable symbols of success to an eight year old. He had a sun porch where I watched The Golden Girls and he drove a car that spoke. In 1990. (#baller) ("A door is ajar," to which he would reply, "Kelly! This car is crazy. A door is not a jar; a door is a door!")
When I was a bit older and he retired for the first time, my grandparents moved south and formally introduced me to one of my favorite places on this planet - The Great Smoky Mountains. My Grandfather would drive through the mountains to show off beautiful mountain properties on our way to Gatlinburg, where we would ride the sky tram, buy a personalized airbrush t-shirt, and explore the haunted house, all before piling back into the car to find the first appropriate stop-off on the mountain drive home. He would pull over and I would climb down the embankment and swim in the river with my clothes on. It was freezing, and more importantly felt forbidden and exciting and is one of my favorite memories of my youth.
|This pic is saved on my computer under the title|
"Tampon Boat with Grandpa".
Also, 1989 was a great year in swimwear.
|You guessed it. "Tampon Boat with|
My youth is comprised of memories of my Irish grandfather singing freestyle with a drink in his hand.
Don't be blue
Grandpa loves you"
(I come by my lyrical skills honestly.)(He was also a faithful Catholic and to this day my children sometimes pray singing in made-up Latin using their best Gregorian-style Chant - just like Pappy.)
Above all, I remember my Grandfather loved me. He was interested in my life. He talked with me about God and eternity. He wanted good things for my future. And, most importantly, he made sure I knew all this. What a gift.
Thank you for leaving me with that memory, Grandfather.