Rest in Peace
My grandfather, my dad's dad, died last Thursday at the age of 99.
He and my grandmother lived at home together until barely a week before his passing, the same house where my cousins and I played in the yard in the summer, drenched in bug spray, until it got too dark to see, had snowball fights in the yard on Thanksgiving, and crowded into the living room on Christmas eve.
He and his brother owned a lumber company when I was a kid, and the smell of pine lumber still takes me back to the big lumber sheds with the railroad spur that ran right into them for unloading.
I used to walk over there after Girl Scouts, and when they closed up, he and my grama would drive me home. He always let me pick a sucker out of the box behind the counter - always Dum Dum Pops, and I usually picked cream soda or root beer.
When my youngest brother was born when I was thirteen, it was the day before Thanksgiving, and I stayed overnight at their house until the holiday the next day.
When I was fifteen, he gave me a Zane Grey book, The Light of Western Stars, that had been given to him 48 years earlier.
After the lumber company was sold and he retired, he and my grama used to take their camper out to southern California and Arizona for the winter. He was one of those people who liked to drive and not stop, and could tell you to the minute how long a route took - if you did it in a straight shot.
One of my aunts said to me one day, "You're a lot like your grampa." I asked her how. She said, "You have the same dry sense of humor. You say something, and ten minutes later I realize it was funny."
We always got together with them between Thanksgiving and Christmas, my uncles and aunts and their kids, now married, and their kids, some of them now with kids of their own. It was quite a roomful.
We'll miss you, Grampa.