When I was a little girl we had lunch with my grandparents every single Sunday. When I was little I thought my Grandpa Jack was the funniest man alive. I remember him laying on the floor and I'd get my toy doctor kit out and play doctor. We have pictures of him laying on the floor with me sitting on him. My brother and I would stay with my grandparents quite a bit. I remember waiting until my grandmother went to bed and my Grandpa Jack would come out with a big smile on his face--an ornery expression that a little boy would have when he was up to something he knew would get him in trouble. I see this expression on my own boys from time to time. I remember Grandpa Jack always had his bath robe and slippers on and he'd walk into the kitchen, open the freezer door, and pull out the ice cream. He'd turn to us and smile, lean over a little to make sure the bedroom door was shut so my grandma wouldn't know what he was doing, then he'd say, "Want some ice cream?" We'd sit and have ice cream with him at 11 o'clock at night. In the mornings he'd sleep in--which was understandable because he was up late eating ice cream. Ha. He'd come out, sit at the table, and eat cookies with his coffee. To all of us grandchildren they were known as "grandpa cookies." If we wanted a grandpa cookie we had to give him a kiss on the cheek and ask for a cookie--usually he would give us two or three. I thought he was wonderful! He and my grandmother would take us camping and fishing. My grandpa enjoyed baseball and I remember watching baseball games with him many, many times. I liked it because he liked it. He would go deer hunting with my dad and uncles and when they would come back empty handed he would wink at me and smile and say, "I didn't kill Bambi this time, either."
I have an old black and white photo of my grandparents from the late 40s. I look at that picture and think about stories my grandpa used to tell us from "back in his day." He survived the depression, was in WWII where he spoke one day about killing people. A sadness was in his voice as he admitted that he couldn't see and he didn't know how many people he had killed. He was so young. He and my grandmother lost their first child to illness when he was about 9 months old. My Grandpa Jack's life was far from boring! Every year the family would get together and help my grandparents put their Christmas tree up. My grandpa would sit and watch, people would argue and complain--it WAS the holidays after all. Ha. I remember one year when I was in college my cousins were there helping, as well as my aunts, and my parents. Grandpa was sitting and watching and telling people what to do. I remember looking over at him at one point and he was watching all of us with a smile on his face--his eyes seemed happy. At that moment it occurred to me that maybe he didn't help us because he enjoyed watching us--his family. He was proud of his family and it was obvious.
And I was proud of him--and more than proud to call him my grandfather. My boys loved him just as much as I did. Logan still does things and will say, "Mom! I look like Great Grandpa Jack!" or "Great Grandpa Jack used to do that!" He will come to me, crawl in my lap, and say, "I miss Great Grandpa Jack." We all miss him. Today he has been gone for a year. I think about him often and I thank God that I was given the chance to not only know him, but to call him mine.