My grandpa died on Saturday.
In some ways this should not have been a surprise because of course 1) people die inevitably and 2) the guy was 92 years old–hardly a spring chicken.
My grandpa was also one of those people for whom the phrase “they don’t make ’em like that anymore” was coined. He seemed virtually indestructible due to surviving Pearl Harbor, a few strokes, my grandma’s frustrations, some rattlesnakes, and various construction injuries. These are just to name the things I know about. So, even though it probably should not have been, it was a bit of a shock.
I will not go into all the things that life teaches us or the meaning of death. I don’t know anything about either of those. What I do know is that family does not come from who shares your DNA. Family is who knows you well because of the history you share, loves you for who you are, and takes the time to demonstrate this to you on a regular basis. So, even though my grandpa and I were not technically related, he and I had the relationship that Grands are supposed to have, and I was lucky to witness him also share some of those gifts with my three-year-old before he passed.
It wasn’t until my adulthood that we got to be closer, and, because we all know I can’t deal with life, or in this case death, without trying to laugh about it, I bring you a couple of great moments with Grandpa.
The Brown Banana Crisis: For years, whenever we visited Grandpa and Grandma, we would always be sure to bring up our brown bananas for my Grandpa because he always ate them. Finally one day he turned to us and said, “Would you stop bringing those damn brown bananas?” We were all shocked and said “Grandpa, I thought you liked them–that’s why we’ve been bringing them to you all these years!” Turns out, he just didn’t like to see the things go to waste–a habit form surviving the Depression I suppose. We always think of Grandpa when we see brown bananas.
The Original Ugly Doll: My grandpa always made fun of my dolls when I brought them on a visit. He would stop and make a sour face and ask me, “Why on Earth did you bring that ugly thing?” Of course I would defend my latest love interest, but I have to say it was fun to shake my doll at him and watch him shiver and feign disgust.
Love you Grandpa!