I saw Grandpa as a sort of superhero. As early as I can remember, my Mom told me that I was choking on a piece of food when I was a baby, he was the first one who noticed. He picked me up and dislodged it somehow. Even though I don't actually remember it happening I have a little movie about how I imagine things went down stored in my brain. I always saw him through that lens, this source of incredible strength and calmness.
When I was a kid and we would come up to visit, it was a big deal that
Casa Grande had its own Walmart, and the whole extended family would
roam around the store for what seemed like hours. One time, when my
little sister Laura was probably 4 or 5, she wanted a teddy bear that
cost $8. "That's stupid," I said. "No teddy bear is worth $8." He put me
in my place by saying, "Well, it might be. That depends on how bad the
buyer wants it." That lesson stuck with me as much as anything I learned four years of
The closest we ever got was when I was 13 and my sisters and I took
turns spending a week with him and Grandma during the summer. I was
freaked out about going to high school, and his words of reassurance
were "I remember back when I was a hairy freshman. Don't think I'd like
to try that again." Then he laughed. It was a short conversation but
made me feel a lot better, as if he was saying, "Yep, it will be tough,
but I got through it and can laugh about it, and so will you."
That week we did some puzzles together - Grandpa always enjoyed logic
puzzles and had a big box of them - and he would suggest books. I spent a bunch of time watching
cartoons on TV. When Popeye came on, Grandpa would wander in and watch
with me. He told me he remembered them from when he was a kid. He would
make comments and it occurred to me that his manner of speaking and the
sound of his voice were a little like Popeye's. Grandpa was also like
Popeye in that he was strong - as strong as I could ever imagine a man
I wandered over here from consumerist - sorry to hear about your loss Phil. Best of luck to you at GuySpeed.
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