Contributor: dvdmovieking Created : 4 years ago Updated : 4 years ago
When I think of my grandpa, I don't remember very many specific events. I remember the feeling of hugging him and sitting on his lap. He had a round belly, strong arms, and a scratchy mustache (especially when he gave us kisses). I remember the deep rumble of his voice and the way his laugh sounded, low and throaty. I remember his cowboy boots and his hat, and the slow, steady way he shuffle-walked. I remember his Johnny Cash music playing on the karaoke machine in the living room.
I remember him in the garage, the hum of the handsaw and the smell of sawdust in the air as he crafted a new piece of furniture to give away. Almost every stitch of furniture in my home growing up came from him. He would let us grandkids use a hand broom to sweep the sawdust up as he worked, and we were thrilled to be included. He also let us take some of his wood scraps to create swords, which we colored with crayons and used in our imaginary battles in his backyard.
And of course, there was the lake. I remember being woken up at 4 a.m. to be loaded into his truck so that we could be on the lake in the still morning hours. I remember the salty smell of powerbait and the feel of the tug on my reel when a fish bit. I remember him taking us out for ice cream afterward - the rule was whoever caught the first fish bought everyone's ice cream, but it always ended up being his treat. He also taught his grandkids to water ski. I thought I would freeze and die of hypothermia during my first skiing lesson, but he essentially told me to stop being a sissy. He was patient and persistent, and I learned. We spent many summers camping, fishing, and boating with grandpa, grandma, and the cousins.
I remember how Grandma and Grandpa drove the four hours to St. George for practically every birthday, holiday, sports event, concert, or graduation. And he always had to have a roll of duct tape, so that he could threaten to tape us to the wall if we were naughty. Grandma tells the story of how he forgot the duct tape once, and they had to stop at Wal-Mart on their way to our house so he could buy some. I remember him driving me to school with the bum-warmers on, and the way he always went exactly the speed limit. And I also remember his restlessness - he would come, but within a few days, he was itching to be home again.
He was quiet but consistent in his support of us. I've heard that in his younger years, he would smile and laugh more often. I knew him as more of a somber guy - a man of few words, but always there. He was the first to sacrifice whatever was necessary in support of his family. Even when he struggled with his own trials - depression, diabetes, etc - he was unfailingly present. His love wasn't the gushy kind. His love was like the bedrock that kept us all on solid ground.