My grandpa would have been 80 yesterday.
My grandmother posted on our family Web site that she got up on his 80th birthday and wondered what he would look like. Would he have wrinkles? An answer that none of us can know.
My grandfather passed away when I was a freshman in high school. It hurt when he died. It hurt a lot. I miss him so much. I remember the day my mom told us. We came home from school and she said he had died. In that instant, my world had a giant crack in it and over the years it’s become a giant hole.
My grandpa taught me many life’s lessons. He taught me that all men aren’t bad. He taught me to ride his horse Leo. I used to spend hours at his farm riding that horse pretending that I was in the wild west riding up to a town kicking up dust with guns strapped to my waist. I was the female outlaw! Man, I remember that like it was yesterday. Those times when I’d slip into my own child world.
My grandpa got me to read the book “Where the Red Fern Grows.” A book I cherish today. One of the first books I remember reading. He was so proud when I read that book. And we had something to talk about for a long time. It was a beloved book of his. And he shared it with me.
I used to write grandma and grandpa all the time when I was a child. And grandma always signed the bottom of the letter “grandpa says hi.” I still have all those letters! And they are one of my most precious treasures. Letters from two of the most influential people in my childhood.
Reading my grandma’s post about grandpa’s 80th birthday made me realize I still miss him so much. I miss him all the time. If I could only turn back time for just five minutes. I’d go back and tell him how much impact he had on my life. How much his smile meant to me. How much his love meant to me. How much sharing that book meant to me. And how he helped shape my life today. Oh yes, I’d tell him all those things.
But I can’t go back. None of us can. But what I can do is tell those that are still here how much I love them. How much they mean to me and how much influence they have on my life today. That’s what I can do. We can all do that.
So, with all that said, happy birthday grandpa. I love you very much….