When I think of my grandfather, I think of so, so many things. It's really a flood of love, advice, fun times, stories, and food. I wrote something for my grandparents on their 50th anniversary, and many things on that list are among the first on my mind as I think of my grandfather now. I'd like to share a few of them, along with a bit of explanation of each:
1. When driving down the road, wave cheerfully at each car you pass. This, of course, embarrassed teen me to no end. Complete mortification. ?
2. Whilst standing in the ocean, never stop and announce that a wave is coming unless you want to lose your floaties. Pretty self-explanatory, learned from a trip to Hawaii that grandma and grandpa took my cousin and me on when I was about 5 or so.
3. Strike up conversations in grocery stores, or wherever, with people you, at most, hardly know. Along the same worldview as # 1, above.
4. Watch out for cheese pie. As opposed to cheesecake. Very different animals. Grandpa knew this, but grandma and I didn't listen. Learned during an RV trip around Alaska when I was about 14. There exists a reaction picture to back this one up.
5. When walking in the woods, sing songs to keep bears away. Because bears apparently do not appreciate boisterous perfect pitch, and will promptly leave the general area. ;)
I'd like to add a few things to this list:
6. Always be studying something. In this case, photography. My grandfather gave me what I would call my first grown-up camera when I was about 13, and with it gave me my first real pointers for taking good pictures. I practiced and practiced that summer, mostly on #7…
7. Appreciate the flowers (or, as more commonly known in our family, “Look at them daisies!”. The flowers in the whiskey tubs lining my grandparents' driveway on Jackfish Landing in Alaska were my first serious photography subjects. Grandpa was dutifully impressed at my efforts. Another reason I think of flowers is because grandpa so appreciated a beautiful flower, field of flowers, or particularly beautifully smelling flower. I'm sure that's due in part to my grandmother's influence. Just another reason he was a smart man!
8. Both (or all of the above, in some cases). The Oak Table restaurant in Sequim, a favorite of grandpa's, serves a type of potato pancake as a side dish to many of their breakfasts. They offer your choice of sour cream or apple sauce to accompany the potatoey goodness. Grandpa taught me to answer “Both, please.” He was soooo right. Don't underestimate the value of occasionally asking for it all. You just may get it, and it may be wonderful.
9. Work hard for the life you want. On my last trip to visit Tucson (my hometown) with my husband and daughter, I got the chance to drive by the house that my grandparents literally built themselves. Brick by brick. It was awesome to get to see where they basically started their life together.
Most of all, grandpa (along with grandma) were greatest at making me see and feel along with them their joys in life. And I always felt loved, unconditionally. For these and more, I will be eternally grateful.