Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Grandpa

Two summers ago we took a long road trip to Ohio to visit my mom and family.  During that trip I drove a few hours to visit my grandpa Ron, my mom's dad.  It was the first time in many years I got to see him and it will be the last.  It was a visit I will treasure.

When I was about 4 my Mom and Dad separated.  Then for a short month for me (so short I don't remember it) but one long month for my grandparents we lived in a trailer in their driveway.  My memories all blend together but there are many things that blend together.  And for memories sake I would like to jot them down.  We loved to go visit them in their house on the hill.  They had some property and in the back was an acre or so that they had to mow and maintain which required the coolest ride on lawn mower!  Me and my sisters would sit out in the garage when we would visit and pretend that we actually knew how to drive.  They would also go to Pismo Beach.  I only remember one trip and I remember lots of sand.  My grandparents had a couple quads, what they called a rail runner (?).  On the way home one of the families flipped their trailer, so we pulled over on the side of the road waiting for emergency vehicles (no injuries!0 and we ate left over turkey sandwiches (it must have been around Thanksgiving) and the sandwiches were well sandy! My grandma and grandpa separated close to this time.  The things I remember about my grandpa were all in my early years.  I definitely remember his gold El Camino with grapes on the door to represent the Napa based construction company that he co-owned.  I remember going to his house with my grandma Debby, his second wife, in Benicia where he tried to fight the city about the parking right at the 680/780 interchange and that it was an eyesore.  He was very passionate about what irked him.  He is the one that introduced me to the Yule log burning on TV.  Wow that was cool.  I know I had more interaction with him than what I can remember but those memories are locked up tight.

What I know of him is that he was a gruff man, and could be a little intimidating.  He was not mean, he just spoke his mind.  I can honestly say that you would never doubt how he felt.  One of his characteristics that we have named is the Hill glare.  It is a stare of intimidation and one with a raised eyebrow.  While he gets the credit, I am sure every parent who holds any authority, has the same stern look.

When we went to visit him, it was just me and the kids.  He did get to meet all 6 of them and for that I am grateful, even if Jackson and Lauren were too young to remember.  I knew him best as a man from California so I was pleasantly surprised to see how well he fit in and loved the country life.  I shouldn't have doubted since that is where he was born.  He just returned to his roots.  He lived on a hill, come to think of it all three houses that I can remember him in were on a hill, which happens to be his last name!  He got pizza for all of us.  I loved watching him interact with the kids.  His personality was still gruff, but the years had softened him.  It was a sweet surprise to see him be gentle with the kids.  He took several trips on his little buggy to show off his property.  It was neat when he took me and Jackson back there.  He was very proud of his land.

One thing that I will remember is to see the devotion to his wife.  I have no doubt that he loved Grandma Debby.  He showed me this area in the woods that was hard to get to, but he pointed out how Debby loved that area especially because of the butterflies.  He said it inspired her to paint.  He was proud of her.  They were a perfect match for each other.

When Grandpa took them on a ride, they picked flowers for Grandma Debby.
I am sad that he is gone, sad for my mom as well as her brother and sister who have lost their father.  I am sad for Debby who has lost her husband and best friend.  I am at peace with the fact that he is in pain no longer.  I am also grateful for the knowledge of eternal families.  I love the idea that it is a temporary good-bye and I know I will get to see him again.  In the meantime, whenever I look at my feet and laugh because they are exactly a half size difference, I will remember comparing feet with him on his porch and having him tell me that I got that from him! So thank you, Grandpa for passing that on to me!  God be with you til we meet again.  I love you Grandpa!
Jackson was pulling on Grandpa's extra skin.  It made Grandpa laugh!

1 comment:

The State of Our Family said...

Thank goodness for grandparents!!!

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