Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Grandpa and His Beautiful Life

Among the most special relationships in life are those we have with grandparents. 

From the moment you're born they've got a license to spoil you, and many of them work their hardest to accomplish the feat. 

My dad's dad died before I was born but, I was blessed with two  doting grandmothers and a grandfather.

By the time I was in my early teens, both my grandmothers had died leaving me with just one grandparent. 


He was born and raised during the depression and had the no-nonsense disposition reflecting that fact. 

Growing up near the industrial centers of the Midwestern U.S. and Southwestern Ontario, he watched the machines built to carry out WWII roll by on the train tracks that ran close to his childhood home. The war impacted him deeply but two weeks before he was set to report for duty, WWII was over.

He was an interested, curious fellow who loved to travel and learn about the world. He had  an endless supply of funny childhood stories and a mind like a trap.

He was drafted and offered a tryout with the farm team of the Boston Bruins at a time when there were just six professional hockey teams on earth and just a handful of minor-league teams.  He also played high school football, semi-pro baseball and later became an excellent golfer.

He was the hardest worker I've ever known. He was an expert craftsman, handyman, chef and painter.  To my knowledge he never called a plumber or an appliance repairman. Car mechanics were largely optional too.

He was the best host a grandkid could hope for. When my brothers and cousins were kids, a visit to Grandpa's house didn't mean getting stuck eating melba toast and drinking prune juice, forced to be quiet while the grown ups talked. 

Going to Grandpa's meant cookies, sweets, snacks, Cokes and hockey games on the TV. 

But there were rules. He was demanding, stern and didn't suffer laziness or fools easily. In some instances there most certainly was crying over spilled milk. 

He wasn't perfect. But, he was the perfect grandfather. 

Yesterday he left my mom, her two brothers, their spouses and their kids. In the end he slipped off to sleep with his loving wife by his side. He was 85 years old.

There is no such thing as the perfect life, but I believe his was a beautiful life. We'll miss him but I'm eternally grateful we had him.

When our little guy gets older, he'll hear all about his dad's grandpa. I'll tell him the stories my grandpa told me. I'll tell him how the biggest laughs Grandpa had were those shared with family and friends. I'll tell him that, even though he sometimes found it difficult to say he loved us, he always managed to let us know it.

Mostly I'll be sure to tell my son how proud I am to have had a grandfather who knew what mattered most and lived his life accordingly.


Anonymous said...

You were lucky but so was your Grandfather.

Anonymous said...

Love to you and your family, We are thinking of you all....Kiss Mardee for me.... xoxo