My grandpa has always been one of my favorite people. He never says a lot of words, but that doesn’t matter. Ever since I can remember, being around him has made me feel warm and loved. And when he laughs, it’s contagious.
For most of my life, I’ve lived thousands of miles away from Grandpa and Grandma. But some of my favorite memories are memories about Grandpa.
Grandpa always had special pet names for us kids. I was “Flower” because I liked flowers and Jennie was “Butterfly” because she never sat still. Grandpa never complained about going on adventures with the three of us-and he put up with our craziness awfully well too. We’d go down to the creek, or poke around the garden and find interesting plants and bugs to look at in the woods.
I always knew if I found a neat plant, that I could count on Grandpa to be excited about it with me. He is always stuffing new seeds in his pocket to take home and try to grow. I’m happy to say that I inherited that from him, and there’s few things that make me happier than digging in the garden and finding new kinds of tomatoes to plant ever year. Now if only we could find a fool proof way to keep the deer out!
When I was tiny, I use to love escaping bed time by crawling up on the bed with Grandpa and Grandma and begging for stories. Grandpa always hemmed and hawed and protested that whoever told me he had any stories to tell was pulling my leg. But I knew that sooner or later, he’d give in and tell me some of the best stories I’d ever heard.
Some of my favorite memories are Grandpa’s stories. I loved hearing about the day the goats sneaked into the house, and all the ways he tried to make them leave…including a rubber mallet on the head! I still laugh when I tell the story about how he dealt with dogs and bullies that tried to mess with his car.
The next day, I’d ask to hear the goat stories again. Without fail, Grandpa would always tease that I had just been dreaming. As I grew up, hearing him say that was something that I love as much as the stories. I admit, I asked for the stories not just to hear them again, but because I really wanted to hear him say “What’d you dream the next night?”.
As adults, Grandpa still puts up with our crazy ideas of fun…like posing with strange bears and wearing hats with flowers.
I never dreamed I’d be lucky enough to have a child who got Grandpa’s red hair and fair skin. Every time I look at her hair, I think of Grandpa.
Today, Grandpa is celebrating his 80th birthday. I wanted to walk into the party and surprise him. I wanted to shout “Happy birthday!” and most of all I wanted to give him a hug. But here I am, a few thousand miles away and writing this instead.
Happy Birthday 80th, Grandpa! I wish I could hug you today. I wish you could come see my garden. You are probably the only other person in the world who would get a kick about my ridiculously tall tomatoes. Every single time I go anywhere, someone always stops me and asks about Charlotte’s beautiful red curls, and I always proudly tell them that it’s a gift from you.
And if I was there, I’d have to ask you to tell us about the goats jumping on the bed. Even if just to hear you say “What’d you dream the next night?
I love you!