Today is a special day. Today's a sad day too. On this day, five years ago, my wonderful Grandfather (Paw) went to be with the Lord. It was not a pleasant departure from this life for him. He suffered from kidney failure that took him slowly and painfully. He was however well into his 80s and had lived a very full life.
I remember him as the strong, tall man who would play with his grandkids. He loved us all so much. He had this gruff voice and crazy eyebrows...but was a softie inside. My brother and I would go to visit with family most every Sunday afternoon. Me, my brother, my two other cousins, my three aunts, my grandmother, and him. Lots of times he would hide out in his den...away from the chaos that came from 4 grandkids under 7 yrs old. Other times he'd take us out to his garden and we'd walk through it and pick fresh cherry tomatoes off the vines. Gosh...nothing like the taste of a fresh tomato warm from the sun.
I don't remember this event, I was only 4 years old, but it's been well recounted in our family. One day my Mom had taken my brother and I up to my grandparents house...she might have been helping them work on something. Paw was always give us a dollar here or a dollar there...when we'd leave he'd stuff a dollar in our hand and tell us to have Mom stop at the McDonald's and get us some fries or have her stop at the Dairy Queen to get us an ice cream. This particular day he gave us the money before it was time for us to leave and gave us specific instructions to have Mom take us to get a corn dog at the Dairy Queen. My little 4 year old self decided that he must have meant now and I grabbed my 2 year old brother's hand and we headed off down the street to the Dairy Queen. Now, the Dairy Queen was a short walk for an adult, but quite a hike for a small child. We also had to cross a pretty busy street to get there. Only by the grace of God did we make it there in one piece. I bought us two corn dogs, paid for them, got my change, and we headed back to my grandparents' house. I can only imagine what the cashier at Dairy Queen thought about two small children buying food. Ha!
In the meantime my grandparents and my Mom realized we were gone. They had no idea where we had gone, if someone had taken us, as we hadn't told them we were leaving. My Paw jumps in his car and in his excitement floods the engine and can't get it started. About that time my brother and I come strolling up the sidewalk. I have the Dairy Queen bag in one hand and I'm holding my brother's hand with the other. We're toddling up the street when my Mom sees us. She starts yelling at my Paw and telling him that we're coming and she runs to us and hugs us up. Apparently Mom asked me where we went, I showed her the bag and said that Paw had told us to go to Dairy Queen and get corn dogs for us.
He was so scared that something had happened to us - he never thought I'd take his thought literally. It became a running joke after that.
I miss my Paw. He was a wonderful man of God who loved others with all his heart. He was a strict diciplinarian and a former drill seargant in the army - this sometimes made him seem harder and more callous than he really was. He always had time to give us a hug.