They had just picked me up from my grandma's house.
After my grandpa's funeral.
Last week I felt like I was forgetting something. I knew the 19th was important, but I couldn't remember why. And then I was (finally) organizing the bookshelves, and I printed off a photo of my grandpa to put next to our Bluebird of Happiness and just cried.
It's hard for people who didn't know him to understand how I can still get emotional sometimes just thinking about him. He was amazing. Some people get ornery grandpas or senile grandpas; I got the most caring, unselfish, most Christ-like grandpa of all.
It wasn't unusual for my parents to make the trip to Portland (a 2 hour drive,) just to spend the day at grandma and grandpa's house. Grandpa would walk with us to feed the ducks at the duck pond and make us ice cream cones. He would take photos of everything, though he would usually have to count "1...2...3...4...5" before the picture would take. He always told me that eating carrots would turn my eyes orange. He would sing "Springtime in the Rockies" and change the words to "bonnie eyes of BROWN" for his granddaughters.
Grandpa made the coolest customized pancakes for breakfast: he would use a turkey baster to create the shape of a heart, a teddy bear, etc. and then WRITE our names in the pancake! How cool is that? He had the most amazing penmanship; sometimes he would put a smiley face inside the cursive "g" when he signed my birthday cards. And he had the best stories...he would take out a globe and show me all the places he went in the Navy during the War. One New Years Eve he helped my friend and I rig up a "ball" that we could lower from my Barbie dream house. He carved pumpkins for Halloween and made refrigerator boxes into playplaces.
He liked to laugh, but not at anyone's expense. He was always doing things for others, and wanted to make them happy. One time he bought some special shells at a shop in town, then spread them on the beach for us find. He told us they must have come "all the way from Japan!" and we were so excited with our pink and green rocks.
The summer we found out about his cancer, I went to visit him in the hospital after my jaw surgery. He was so concerned about me. Me?! And a few weeks later when I was visiting Joe in Virginia, he (from the hospital) told me he couldn't wait to hear about my trip.
Most Americans remember March 19, 2003 as the day President Bush declared war against Iraq. I remember our family gathered around grandpa's casket.
My faith gives me hope for the future; knowledge that I will see my grandpa again. And that just makes everything else seem so unimportant. I still think the AIG bonuses are ridiculous, and the way Congress handled the AIG bonuses is ridiculous. I hate taxes and war and think it's dumb that marijuana is illegal. I think it's lame I have to pay property tax on my car to Fairfax County, and hate that I have to make another dentist appointment with another specialist to most likely have another tooth implant. I'm mad that our neighbor's water heater leaked into our water heater closet and caused the hardwood floors in our living room to start bowing. I'm even more mad at the neighbor's insurance company who doesn't want to pay for said water damage. I'm bummed that I've been sick all week. I'm mad that I have to work on weekends at a job that's unfulfilling.
But last weekend Joe and I watched The Princess Bride on TV, and during commercials we did dishes and swept floors and put away clothes. We laughed and snacked and played with cats. And I didn't care about bills or hardwood floors or teeth or taxes. I was so happy. I thought of my grandpa, and re-committed myself to trying my very best to be like him.
An Eternal perspective...