When it comes to my Grandpa, I could probably write for days about how incredible he is. In my family, he and I are kindred spirits. Similar in so many ways like our sarcastic sense of humor, our ability to hold in our emotions and be strong for others, yet generous in wanting to help others.
He is truly a remarkable human being. Anyone who has had the pleasure of knowing him will tell you the same. As a child I never knew just special he was but as I became an adult, I recognized the values he instilled in me. The values that I am so proud to posses, I owe to him. He taught me about what’s important in life, he taught me to be strong, he taught me to work hard. He taught me these things because he DEMONSTRATED these values.
Every Thursday, me and my kids have lunch with Grandpa. Over lunch I listen to stories of his life. I sit fascinated as he tells me about his Navy days aboard the USS Samuel Johnston liberty ship and his trips to North Africa, or when he returned home on leave to go on a blind date where he met my Grandmother. He tells me about the awful decision he made to go get an Anchor tattooed on his forearm, because that’s what guys did back then! He recalled a story of his 21st birthday in the service and he had 2 chocolate bars and 2 beers and him and his buddies put on their poncho’s and “Putt hats” and watched a movie in the rain. He remembers it was a musical.
His memory is sharp as a tack and he can remember names and dates like you wouldn’t believe. Last Thursday was the anniversary of D-Day and he told me exactly where he was on that very day. I listen to stories of his many jobs he had, at what age, and who his boss was. The picture to the left was his first job interview he went on after he returned from the service. He remembers the day he got his first retirement check and has the picture to prove it.
We don’t talk a lot about when he had to step in and take custody of my sister and I. I don’t tell him how appreciative I am that he decided to raise us. I don’t tell him how grateful I am that he was hard on me and expected a lot, because of those expectations, I tried harder to please him. Not knowing that my hard work was more of a reward for myself than it was for him. I rarely say THANK YOU for giving me an opportunity to have the life I want.
BUT, I am thankful, appreciative, and so very grateful to him.
I’m beyond blessed to have this awesome guy in my life as my grandfather, as my mentor, as my friend, and as my hero. He saved my life more than he’ll ever know. One day I’ll get the courage to tell him but we don’t like all that mushy stuff. So for now, writing my memories of him on his birthday will have to suffice. Happy Birthday Grandpa, you are truly one of a kind and I look forward to lunch next Thursday and many Thursday’s after that!