Sunday, October 6, 2013

I find myself missing Grandpa a lot today.  Don't know why, but so it is.  So, I shall indulge in some memories...

20 years ago (yikes!) this month, he and G'ma came over to visit us and found a woman with 2 teenaged boys in the living room with Mom, the girls, and I.  One of those boys was a 16 yr old Mexican exchange student in need of a new home.  Somehow I'd convinced Mom that WE were the family he needed.  After meeting the woman he was currently residing with, Mom agreed.  On the way home to their house, G'pa asked G'ma what was going on.  She told him we were going to take Pepe for the rest of his year in the US.  "HIM?  No way!  He's too good looking!"  They later became great friends, Pepe even informing his parents, "The grandfather swears like a Mexican!"

G'pa and G'ma visited Pepe's family when they went down to Texas and Mexico.  G'pa and Jose got into an argument over which one of them would get to pay for dinner.  Jose said, "My country, I pay."  G'pa gave in, but turned the tables on them when Pepe's parents joined us in Texas later in the year--"My country, I pay."  G'pa spoke no Spanish (always said he "had 2 years of Spanish 1 in high school") and Jose spoke no English, yet the two of them disappeared one morning for more than 4 hours to take a of the country around Pepe's house and get the "right" tamales for dinner that evening.  G'pa said it was a great morning.

This is the time of year when we would always go up to Elias Cole's, a restaurant in NY state, or was it PA?  This after driving up to a farm to get apples.  Always MacIntosh.  I only ever remember getting the free apple out of the tasting barrel.  What did they do with the apples they bought?  I know G'ma often made him "baked apples" for dessert (in the microwave!), but what else?  Maybe we just went up for the beef and barley soup and fresh hot bread at Elias Cole's.

What would G'pa advise about our home heating problem? 

What would he think of my kids?  I know when he last met them Charlie was just 3 months old.  I'm sure he would find Charlie a real hoot right now.  Joseph wore him out--"Just watching that kid makes me tired!", Mary he kept saying, "What a beautiful young lady!", and I think lil'Nathan would probably incite a few jokes on his one-track-computer-wanting mind.  He'd think Elisabeth a sweetheart, until he saw her scream and try to bite her brother for taking his own toy back.  He'd have something to say to that, too, no doubt.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

A few memories of past birthdays, okay, actually, just one.

He hated peas.  He liked birthday cakes.  Stacy hit upon the idea one year to make him a cake decorated with balloons--frosting covered peas.  We sang.  He blew out the candles.  He cut the cake.  Stacy (or someone) revealed the joke and we all laughed... except Grandpa.  He not only wouldn't eat the cake (suspicious, perhaps that other peas were lurking inside?), but he wouldn't trust anything she cooked for almost a week!

He hated peas.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

I am just going to go ahead and say it - deep down if I really come clean I am angry. I know that is selfish and that I shouldn't be, but I really am. I also know that we had more time with him than many have with their grandparents. Not only were they in our lives clear into adulthood, but we shared so much with them. That should make me feel better, but it doesn't.  I still hurt.

They say time heals.......but I have yet to find that true. Actually I still feel like I lose a tiny piece of my heart everyday that he is gone. Not a single day goes by when I don't think of him. And everytime I do it still stings that I still have to remind myself he is not here.  It still hurts.

There isn't much I can do that doesn't remind me of him. And I still hurt.

And what stings the most is that Katie remembers him. She still talks about him, asks questions and tells me she misses him. It hurts that I know even though she still remembers him, she will most likely not in 5 years. He wasn't there for her 5th Birthday, little Graduation Ceremony (and he would have loved it), and he won't be there for Hannah's first "concert" this December. Man would he get a kick out of Hannah. Such a little personality - just like when she was a baby and we went to visit Lisa together. He got "such a charge" out of her little stubborness and would just chuckle. She is the same now, but comes up with words to back her little personality up......and he is not here to chuckle.......

And it still hurts.

I miss him so much.......

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Grandma and Grandpa just celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary.  I can remember celebrating with them from about year 40 onward.  I remember cleaning out and washing the exterior of the trailer by their house and making a sign that said "Happy 43rd Anniversary."  Or was it 45?  I guess I don't remember that well.

One year, actually, many years, G'pa was in Canada fishing with the guys on their anniversary.  One of those years, G'ma decided she wanted to go to the stock car races.  The local gas station was running a special where you could get a free ticket to the races when you spent a certain amount on gas.  She saved her receipts for weeks and on their anniversary all of us went to the race track at New Symrna Beach.  The ticket woman informed her that the receipts are only good the week of purchase.  Oh.  We headed back to the car.  Suddenly G'ma stopped.  "It's my anniversary and [darn] it, I want to go to the races.  So we went back and went to the races.

Happy Anniversary.

I've also been thinking a lot about G'pa.  Two things really.

Today in church a man spoke about his mixed emotions in getting ready to send his daughter to college.  When I went to BYU, G'ma and G'pa drove me out to Utah.  It was our annual summer trip that year.  We had a great time--visiting their friends in MI (where we borrowed a little trailer for all my stuff.  It was affectionately nick-named the "coffin" b/c of how it looked being towed behind the motor home.  G'ma loved how I would run into the bathroom every so often to check and make sure it was still there.  G'pa loved telling people I had so much stuff we needed a trailer to get it to UT.  He liked to forget the fact that the motor home's bathroom was stuffed to capacity with aluminum cans that he was taking to MI for the extra 5cent deposit.)  Anyway, we went a lot of places and saw a lot of things.  And then we got to Provo. 

G'pa was hurting for coffee in the student cafeteria to go with his cinnamon bun.  He thought he could ask for some.  I assured him that would not help.  We camped in Provo and spent a few days getting books and any supplies I would need for my dorm room.  (They even bought me a verboten goldfish, which really didn't last long.  I used the bowl for cookies later.)  Then came move-in day.  G'ma loved that everyone thought Stacy was the student.  G'pa was quiet.  We went out for dinner and then they brought me back for my first night in my new home.  I was feeling excited and nervous.  Said goodbye to G'ma.  No problem.  Said goodbye to G'pa.  Problem.  He started crying.  Crying!  My grandpa.  I didn't stand a chance after that, and we both stood there blubbering.  For what seemed like a long time.  I don't even remember how we managed to finally say goodbye, but I do know that much later that night when I was visited by my head resident, she didn't even say "Hi," she just hugged me and asked what was wrong.

A few weeks later G'ma and G'pa stopped by to visit on their way home (a trip to Hawaii was in between) and there were no tears at that goodbye.  I was happy and adjusting.  He was glad to see it.  No more worries.

The second thing that's been on my mind, has actually been plaguing me for a year and a half, ever since G'pa's funeral.

The pastor gave us all time to share a memory or a story about G'pa.  When he did this at G'ma's funeral, no one said anything.  (I think we were waiting for others to share first, but no one did and then the pastor moved on.)  We all felt badly about it and were determined not to make the same mistake again.   Mom even shared a story about G'ma at G'pa's funeral before she shared one about G'pa.

Most of the stories shared were funny.  He was a funny man.  In word and in deed.  One man shared how he went to the bank with G'pa and waited in the car for about 20 mins.  When G'pa came out he was laughing, "wrong bank."  So they went to the right bank and after about 15 mins G'pa came out again.  Again laughing, "forgot my wallet." 

Stacy gave an amazing eulogy, in which she shared many stories, including one of my all-time favorite G'pa stories:  the story of the snake in the cans.  It involves a gun and a lot of running.

I had shared a few stories in my "eulogy," and was okay with being quiet now.  But then, towards the end, my idiot uncle stood up to share.  He started off with what seemed like a real story, but soon it was obvious that he was just telling a joke.  Ick.  Not wanting to end with him and his stupid joke, I shared another story, a true story. 

I told about the time we were in Mexico and he and I took a walk late at night.  There were a lot of stray dogs, some of them quite big.  After being startled by one a little closer than we were comfortable with, G'pa found a very large stick.  I asked him what he was going to do with it, he didn't answer, just urged me to keep walking.  A few minutes later we heard snarling and barking, very close.  He, with his big, heavy stick, jumped behind me.  When we realized the dog was behind a garage gate, and could breathe again, I turned and asked, "What are you doing?!"  He responded, "I have a better shot from back here!"   We both laughed, he put down the stick, and we quickly returned to our friends' home.

After I shared, Stacy's husband Josh was to sing.  First he shared a message about G'pa being both strong and gentle.  Kind, too.  Stacy said later that Josh told her the last speaker made G'pa into a joke and he couldn't bear for G'pa to be a joke.  She said the last speaker was Chuck. 

It wasn't.  It was me.

And while I do think that Josh was referring to Chuck's stupid, inappropriate joke, I wonder if others think I was also making fun, or making G'pa into a joke. 

Mom told me not worry about it, b/c my story was a true story.  But I still worry.  Not b/c of what others think of me, but b/c of what it might make them think about G'pa.  Or how I thought of him.

I should have shared my BYU drop off story.  But I knew at the time I could never get through that.

But there were others, lots of others I could have shared.  So I'm haunted.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

1 year

I know today has been on all our minds. 1 year. 1 whole year since he passed and yet it still feels like it was yesterday. I will try and remember the fun times as we pass this heartbreaking milestone. Mainly the fishing trips. Like when he tried to drown me in the boat. I lost 3 plastic cups in the river that day. He used his hands to fling the water at me and I used cups, barely did a thing because i kept losing the stupid cups. When I was trying to climb out of the boat (on a different occasion) and he pushed the boat away from the dock causing me to fall into the water. Boy did he laugh, until he saw the cuts on my legs from the shells on the dock. I will always remember how he yelled at me for watching the dolphins and not my fishing pole! How he cut the fishing line when there was a stingray on the other end.

I will also remember the one and only hunting trip he took me on and I rooted for the bird! When we would go shrimping and he would let us pick out one thing from the 7-11 after. His love of trains and how excited he would get when a train passed us in the car. When I went to Alaska a few years ago I took a pic of the train because I knew that he would like that. I remember when I told him we took the train to Seward and he asked me a million questions about the train and none about the actual trip to Alaska.

I read a quote off from a Winnie the Pooh movie that said, "If ever comes a day when we can't be together, keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever!"

Another quote I liked that I saw on Facebook was "I thought of you today, but that is nothing new. I thought of you yesterday and days before that too. I think of you in silence, I often speak your name. All I have are memories and a picture in a frame. Your memory is a keepsake from which I'll never part. God has you in his arms. I have you in my heart!"

I miss him! I will always miss him, but I know that I will see him again and until that day comes I will look at pictures and laugh and remember the good times that we had!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Today i went to place my vote and when I handed the lady my Drivers License she looked at me and asked me if I was related to Bob and Eileen. I was very surprised at that. The absolute last thing I expected. I told her I was their granddaughter and she proceeded to tell me how they lived right next to her mother and how wonderful they were and how sweet. I thanked her, while smiling and trying not to cry, and went to vote. While I am filling out my ballot I hear her tell someone, "that young woman over there is Bob and Eileen's granddaughter. " As I was leaving a man stopped me at the door and followed me as I walked telling me how he remembers going to dinner with them one night and hearing all about grandpa's train trip in Canada, at least he thinks it was Canada. He continues to tell me how wonderful they were and how sad it was to hear they had passed. I told him about all the train pics we found after they passed. He laughed and wished me well and we parted.

That whole thing just caught me so off guard because it was the last thing I could have expected today. But it really makes me think about what an impact G&G had on people and how they truly were kind and just all around friendly to anyone they met. With it being 358 days since Grandpa died I found that encounter to be a wonderful surprise!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Today marks the anniversary of the beginning of a 17 day nightmare.....that has yet to end.