I attribute a lot of things to my grandfather, my love for cooking and family, a knack for fishing, a temper that could erupt in seconds.
Memories are abundant when I think of him, Joy in the faces of family when sitting around at Thanksgiving dinner or opening up stockings to find beef jerky, nuts and pepperoni. Fishing with the Nelsons or Eugene from next door. Trips to the recycling place where we would try to trick the scales to get more money. The smell of Juicy Fruit gum. The comb over. Picnics and parties. Tree forts and swing sets cooler than any kid on the block had. Trips to the beach with fake labels for his beers. Duct tape. Dinner at 6pm, don’t be late. A warm car on snowy mornings. Paper mache pancakes. Christmas lights laced with barbed wire. Pumpkins wired to railings. A garden full of vegetables. And then, we grew up and time doesn’t stop. We grew older and so did he, then the memories were canes and dialysis. Slips and bruises. Pacemakers. Walkers and wheelchairs. A jolly man to a frail one. The garden got smaller, the pool taken down. Christmas lights went from the Griswalds to a strand or two. So, I held his hand and kissed his head and prayed for God to take him quickly and painlessly. I know he will want to go fishing and look over Thanksgiving dinners. And heavens garden will have a plethora of tomatoes. The children will be in awe of all he can do, that jolly man who smells like Juicy Fruit gum.