This past Sunday was National Grandparents Day. Despite my love of holidays, it seems I miss this one every stinkin’ year. I recently typed out a couple fond memories of my beloved grandfather and figured I’d share them here, as well, to honor the day.
Gramps was recently diagnosed with progressive Dementia. His sweet sister, my great-aunt, has rallied our extended family to compile a collection of favorite memories of him, to serve as a memory book for him to read, at his leisure. This aunt, who is a writer by trade, did the same for their mother (my Great Grandma) when she was about the same age and had a similar diagnosis. Reading through these memory books serves to basically exercise the brain, jog the memory. Really, it’s just plain good fun.
When I think of Gramps, I always picture him quietly enjoying one of his many hobbies, tinkering with his hands.
Grandpa’s hands are well-worn, sun-kissed hands…
Big hands that skillfully bait hooks and stand ready to net your catch–
Yet finely tune radios, size up antiques, and deftly click at computer keys.
Legend tells they once plucked the strings of a fiddle, processed rolls of film, and castrated young pigs.
I have watched them tend donkeys and grapes alike, and scoop up nimble grandkids.
They steered the boat, drove the tractor, piloted the plane, and climbed radio towers.
Never hesitating to grab disgruntled crab from boat’s bottom, never flinching at wayward cinders when barbecuing on the blacktop.
They buckle overalls, snap suspenders, and tie black tennis shoes; they don the ring with the tale of a diamond found in a crate of pears…
My grandpa’s hands.
Many of my favorite memories are of fishing off his boat, Gramps manning the helm, patiently enduring my incessant chatter.
I easily recall the time I was eleven, trolling for salmon with Gramps in Oregon City. Despite my obvious lack of both focus and skill, that day I landed a big one. Everyone else was coming up dry- including Gramps’ buddy a couple boats over. At his prompting, I lifted my slimy trophy up high, into the view of his frustrated pal, eliciting a gentle chuckle and particular twinkle in Gramps’ eye, which will forever remain etched in my mind.
There was also the time, on one of our many trips to the north end of Vancouver Island, that I notoriously, unintentionally drowned a poor baby duck. Tragically, it dove for the Herring affixed securely to my hook and was drug to its untimely demise by the eager reeling of a teen seeking to impress the watchful eyes of her beloved grandfather. I was certain the prize at the end of my line was a hefty one, and confidently boasted as much more than once before Gramps recovered it with his net. I’m sure I received more than a muffled chuckle from that one.
I’m fortunate in that all of my grandparents are still alive, though they live several states away. It’s not too late to wish your grandparents a happy day… give them a squeeze if you are near them.