I will be heading home soon for my grandfather’s funeral. You always think you have more time, one last phone conversation, one last visit. However, despite the fact that I’m 1500 miles away, I have absolutely no regrets. This still seems so unreal…. I can’t wait to be with my family. I have comfort knowing that he is with Jesus.
I am blessed that I’ve had so many years with him, and that really in the past 10 years or so, since I could drive, I made an effort to get close to him. He taught me how to knit and crochet, he leaves a legacy of genealogy and handicrafts. He was a son, father, husband, grandfather, Korean War vet, farmer, banker, Prius-driver, great-grandfather, brother. He lived through an almost-heart attack and bypass surgery, surgery to remove cancer on one of his kidneys…. he had a pacemaker that we called his “Energizer Bunny” because you couldn’t have Grandpa without him being ornery, and to be ornery he had to have energy!
Memories don’t discriminate chronologically… I remember the farmhouse, going there in the summers, playing in the green grass, watching the corn and beans against a blue Illinois sky. Watching and listening to the train. Riding on the little tractor down the lane and he let me steer. John Deere to the core. Picking wildflowers on an after-dinner walk to give to Grammie. Attending their 50th anniversary party and vow renewal. He and my Grammie were the first ones we told when Aaron was going to join the Army. His Class A’s (they were tiny!), his stories of being a tank commander, seeing a map of North Korea he’s kept for all these years. He and Grammie greeting us at the airport in Bloomington when we came back from Honduras. He and Grammie helping me to see Aaron off to Korea.
The way he fidgeted with something at the kitchen table while we visited (I do the same thing). Attending Grammie’s baptism. Taking me out for Chinese and almost missing the train to Chicago.
I smell the strange mix of cedar and cigarette smoke of the farmhouse. I’ve had so many dreams about that farmhouse. The freshly-mowed grass, taste the homemade applesauce from the apple trees. Their iced tea is always the best. I try to make it the same way Grammie does and it’s just not the same. Playing cards on the patio in the summer while drinking said iced tea. Honking twice and waving as you leave the drive.
More than ever, I’m proud to be a Little girl.