"Sometimes a missing piece can add perspective" me
Recently I lost my Grandfather. I wish I could say he was a simple man, but if you knew him you would know he was a man with many layers. He was a very successful business man. He has employees that work for his company for decades. He never carried debt, and he was always willing to help anyone around him. I know this sounds typical as people always say nice things about loved ones once they are gone. I am not going to focus on his business acumen, or his success in the typical standard. I want to take a moment and explain what I remember most about him. The part of him that lives in me, and the part of him that inspires our adventure.
I wanted to say much of this at his funeral, but I am a crier. I would not of been able to talk without getting high pitch and sobbing through the words. Anyone who has seen me speak about the people I love know how horrible my strained off pitch shrills can be. I was already emotional when I watched how strong my beautiful grandmother was during the memorial. She was comforting to others, and she was strong for the grandchildren. You could see the love in her eyes for a man she shared a lifetime of memories with. I would not have been able to say two words without breaking down.
So let me share a memory or two that brings some fun perspective to our adventure.
Every summer we would go to Roosevelt Lake and spend a week or so skiing and swimming. Being raised by a single mother we did not really go on vacations, but every summer there was always “the Roosevelt lake trip.” My Grandfather would bring his RV which ironically was the same brand and style of our current home. It was a Tiffin Allegra, and we would camp at the lake to create memories. He always had some new gadget or toy that would wow us grandkids, and it was like watching a kid in a grown man’s body. I like to think my refusal to fully grow up and still enjoy the immature things in life came from him.
You had to be careful with my Grandpa. He loved making a situation slightly awkward. He always had a riddle, slightly off color joke, or prank armed and ready. Each situation would end with a grin. I never remember him laughing audibly he would just have a grin similar to the Cheshire Cat. No matter how embarrassed or angry you were that grin would melt it away and you would join in the joy of the moment. In this way he was magical. He enjoyed an awkward moment and found a way to make it a fond memory even if it was at your expense.
One time he asked me to get his “DAMN” book. I was 7 or 8 at the time. I remember telling my mom, “Grandpa cursed at me!” Of course it was a book on the Roosevelt Dam. I still laugh at that corny joke. I actually bought him a DAMN book (dam book) in the last couple weeks of his life and I forgot to give it to him. Now it brings a smile to my face and a slight swelling of tears. I don’t think his jokes every got old. That is magical in and of itself.
To be completely honest, I am not sure what he would think of our adventure. I feel like he inadvertently gave me some of the tools to make it magical. In an RV much like his own, I will travel North America with my family. I hope to stay successful in my business while never losing that child-like ability to have fun and find magic. I have already mastered the art of the awkward moment and the corny dad joke. I just hope to inherit his ability to pull the family into a single small moment and build memories. Now if I can only master his Cheshire Cat grin…
Thanks to my Aunt Julie and Bruce for getting me the footage and pictures used in this blog! To my Grandmother I love you and hope my subtle scratch at the surface of Grandpa's personality did him justice.