I still love driving by the small brick duplex my grandparents lived in when I was little. I can just see them both standing on the front porch, as they always did when we left after a visit, waving to me as I waved to them until we turned the corner and were no longer in sight.
I would spend the night with them every so often. At night I would sleep in their bed with them, even though there was an empty bedroom with a perfectly comfortable bed right down the hall. I would snuggle between the two of them and all would be right with the world. Grandma would read a magazine or a book and Grandpa and I would tell each other nursery rhymes. He would start, "Hickory Dickory Dock. The cat ran up the clock." I would interrupt, "NO GRANDPA," I would giggle, "It's the mouse that ran up the clock!" He would ask if I was sure. I would say yes and he would continue, at least for a couple of lines when he would mix the words up and we would go through the whole thing again. Truth be told, I liked his way of telling a nursery rhyme better then the originals.
One year for Father's Day I made him a card. I drew a picture of him on the front. In the picture he had just one straggly hair coming from the top of his head. I gave it to him and he laughed and laughed. He loved that card and would bring it up to tease me for years. I wonder what ever happened to it...
Grandpa loved to go fishing. And he loved to take a few of us along too. I remember going with him and Grandma once to El Dorado lake. We took a picnic lunch and then sat in lawn chairs, enjoying a beautiful day. I might have done a little fishing, but mostly I explored and collected rocks and skipped through the grass and laughed and spent a glorious day with my Grandparents.
I have been missing my Grandpa for a while now. Parkinson's stole so much of who he was, but it never stole his mind. His ornery, silly, caring, loving, wonderful mind. Now, on this first full day of the world without my Grandpa in it I am thinking of him. The way he was when I was little and the way he was the last time I saw him. I am so lucky to have those memories.
For years and years when I would leave my Grandparents house I would go over to my Grandma and give her a big kiss and a hug and then make a grand production of heading to the door. At the last minute I would "remember" Grandpa and go to him with a big, strong hug and a kiss right in the middle of his forehead. And then I would say, "I can never forget you Grandpa!" And I never will.