I don’t have trouble with words. And I don’t have trouble putting words into sentences. Sometimes the words just come all at once. Which is what happens when something super emotional happens. Like my grandfather dying. So here we go.
My Grandpa was a war hero. He was a recipient of the distinguished flying cross. He was part of the young eagles program, and took 500 kids up in his airplane. He was a career electrician. He was married to my grandma for over 60 years. He ran 2.5 miles every morning until he was in his 90s. He loved the tv show MASH. He only drank black coffee. He was also my grandpa.
When I was little, as in so little I barely remember it, he would pick me up and take me to the fairgrounds to look at the horses. We’d walk around and look for a while, and then he’d take me home, most of the time, I’d fall asleep in the car on the way back. Walking is hard, k?
People have asked me if my Grandpa ever talked about WWII. Well no, he didn’t, unless you asked him. He was more interested in what I was doing, why I was doing it, always with this amused expression on his face, with the tagline “That’s outstanding!”.
My grandpa had the ugliest basement in the history of the world, which we fondly referred to as his “War Room”. It housed all his war memorabilia, a bomb (no really), and the most horrendous carpet of the 1980s. It was there that we celebrated birthdays, christmas, surprise puppies, and played checkers. Fun fact, I played checkers with my grandpa a lot when I was younger, until one day I beat him, and we stopped playing checkers.
I had the privilege of being with him the last time he went to France. It was an excessively generous and amazing graduation presents from my aunts and uncles (One of my uncles was working in France at the time). After meeting up with my grandpa in Paris, we went to Normandy. And let me tell you something, I have learned a lot about World War II in my history classes. Seeing the beaches of D-Day, and the airstrip my grandpa flew out of after D-Day, that was an experience. I wish I could convey to you how strange it was being in the museum on Utah Beach with my Grandpa, being treated like a VIP. To me, he’s just grandpa.
My grandpa and my grandma came to every single school event that they could. They came to all my band and choir concerts (and kept all the programs because I just found some from 2004). They came to plays, county fairs, horse shows, anything we said “Hey I’m doing a thing”, they were at that thing. My mom is a band director, and my grandpa even went to her band concerts. And even though I am not a fan of football, the rest of my family is. My grandpa had season tickets to the MSU Spartan games, and he went to as many as he could.
Today I have to bury my grandfather. It’s not going to be a fun day. But at the same time, it’s not a bad day either. He lived an amazing life. Traveled the world. Everyone in his town knew him. But not because he was a war hero, he was active in his community always. He was nice to people. He cared. He prayed.
We all think we’re going to live forever. My Grandpa, at the age of 96 (and a half), lived a well life.
Land of the free, because of people like my Grandpa.
Peace, Love, and black coffee,