A friend offered up a meme of 5 things about her grandfather. My mom and I lived with my grandparents for more years than we lived alone so this one struck a chord with me.
1. My grandfather was an alcoholic who quit drinking many years before I was born, before my mom was born even. As a result he had several oral fixations like sucking on hard candies and chomping on the end of toothpicks.
2. He worked for county roads doing survey work. This mean he got to come home for lunch a lot. He always started off the day with his lunch packed in his black lunch box. I loved it when he would come home and still eat what my grandmother had packed. It was almost always the same. The red thermos filled with coffee that had turned golden when he added milk. A couple of sandwiched wrapped in waxed paper. A pair of cookies, usually sugar cookies. Sometimes chocolate chip. Always store bought. His favorite sandwich? Spam.
3. He was a hunter and a fisherman and we always had a freezer full of catfish and ducks and pheasant. I was no good at cleaning fish but sometimes he’d let me pluck the ducks.
4. I love to watch him shave. Sometimes he would let me help. I would stand on the toilet seat so I could reach and dab the brush into the shaving cream and help smear it all over his face. When he was done he would pat on the Old Spice aftershave and lift me down.
5. He died when I was 10 years old. I remember his giant body sagging against the nubby red couch and growing smaller and smaller as the cancer ate away at him. I didn’t go to his funeral. I don’t know why my mom and my grandmother didn’t make me. I wish they had. An argument about prayer and my grandfather is what inspired my first picture book, Can I Pray With My Eyes Open?
What wonderful memories!
Thanks, Barb. He was the closest thing to a dad I had so he’s very special to me.
Thanks. I love that icon. Wish I was there, staring at the ocean.
What a beautiful soul, and sweet picture.
Thanks for bringing up the memories for me!
What a lovely meme. And a sweet photo too.
Thanks. I sure wish it were more in focus but you know how those old pics can be.
Oh I loved this post. The photo is a special one, but your memories are even sweeter and achingly beautiful to read. P.S. I love Spam :o)
Thank you. I am trying to write a book about him but it’s hard. Darn tears get in the way, don’t ya know.
I love Spam best when it’s in a hot grilled sandwich, like grilled cheese only with Spam. (Another grandpa fav)
I can imagine how hard writing that book would be. I hope I don’t sound intrusive when I suggest that you let yourself cry through it and write it – if it is as beautiful of a book as this was a post, then… well, it would be simply wonderful! I am being selfish though, because I would love to read it. The friend part of me would say – don’t do it if it would torment you.
And yes, grilled cheese with Spam rocks.
Thank you so much for this comment. It means a lot.
I wrote the story of my grandfather as a picture book and I loved every single word of it but my critique group convinced me it needed a whole novel to do it justice. 🙂
I loved that he brought home his lunch to eat every day.
Thanks for sharing these beautiful memories.
Thanks for reading along. I hated starting school and missing those lunchtimes with him.
Thanks for sharing such personal stuff, Susan. I wish I had known at least one of my grandfathers. You picked out such wonderful details!
This is the only grandfather I knew and he was quite special to me. I wish I had had more time with him.