When my dad called at 4:00 a.m. Monday morning to tell me that my grandpa had passed away during the night, I had actually already prepared myself to hear those words. Of course you can never truly be ready to let someone go, but he had been in the hospital for several days and I had a feeling that he might not go home.
When I visited grandpa Bob last week, the first visit was over an hour. It was a good visit. He wasn't feeling well, his stomach was hurting, but the conversation was good. We talked about all sorts of funny things.
We talked about when he was in the army and he go to go to New York City and he went to the Radio City Music Hall to see the rockettes.
He actually told me three jokes. (But for some reason, I can only remember two of them right now).
In church, a preacher said, 'Now who here has enemies? And every one raised there hand except for one grouchy old man. The preacher asked again, raise your hand if you have enemies in this world? Again, everyone but the old man raised his hand. So the preacher called him out, "You mean to tell me that you don't have any enemies?" The old man replied, " Nope. I've out lived them all."
In Tennessee, a hillbilly died and his family was sitting on the front row of church. The preacher was standing up at the podium talking about the "Wonderful, loving, kind, generous good father who they were laying to rest that day." The mom looked over at her oldest son and said, "Go up there and look in the casket, and make sure it is your daddy in there."
He was the grandpa I have the most memories spending time with. He always let us kids sit on his lap and 'drive' down the old Missouri dirt roads. He always took us out in the spring, to pick the beautiful daffodils, peonies and little purple wild flowers for grandma. We would bring them home in a big handful and she would put them in a vase of water like they were the prettiest bouquet she had ever seen.
He would always take us fishing in the summer. We would take a rod, with a bobber and drop it over the edge of a bridge on an old country road and fish for tiny perch and goggle eye. If they were big enough, or if we caught a stringer full, we would take them home and grandma Pat would fry them up. He even bought some old cane fishing poles--those were much harder to use.
For Easter one year, Grandpa Bob brought me 3 baby chicks. I raised them as babies until they were full grown. Eventually, two of them got eaten either by a hawk or a coyote, but the little fuzzy yellow one grew into a beautiful, white, egg-laying hen that I called Jean.
When Grandma and Grandpa lived out on the farm, my cousins and I would sleep on a big pallet on the floor, play in the hay loft, jumping onto an old mattress down below. We would go exploring in the outfields, and we would climb the big mimosa trees in the front yard.
When they moved to town, we would stay sleep on the divan, ride bikes in the alley, and play on an old tire swing (in the shape of an elephant) in the yard. One time, the tornado sirens started going off and my brother and I were at Grandpa's house all alone. He made us go down to the basement. It was scary.
When I was in college, I injured my back and I could hardly walk. It was grandpa Bob who drove down from Carthage to pick me up and take me to the doctor. He was there for me when I really needed someone.
My grandpa Bob was one of the sweetest, kindest grandpas ever. While I was visiting him he told me how proud he was of me. He even bragged to the nurses about my award. When he mentioned that I had 'grow-ed up to be pretty' the nurse responded, "Yes, she is just gorgeous." When the nurse walked out he said "Now, I haven't ever used the word gorgeous because I didn't want you to get a big head, but now that nurse said it, I only say you are pretty."
My grandpa Bob loved little children, and animals. He had a cat named Clancy and oh gosh when I was little they had a little dog named Tippy (You can read about Tippy+Grandpa+Peanut butter easter egg here).
Monday I was driving and that song by Dave Mathews called Satellite came on the radio, and it made me really sad. I started thinking about how my grandpa had retired just as my grandma got really really sick. He spent his first months of retirement caring for her. And then she died. And he was alone. And now he was with her again.