“Grandmom has stinky feet!” he would say. “No! Grandpop has stinky feet!” we giggled in retaliation as someone took a picture. I’m not sure exactly where the phrasing came from, but the name could be substituted depending on who we were trying to pick on. Grandpop was known to tease lovingly, and always seemed to get a rise out of tricking someone. He always wanted to spend time outdoors, no matter what season. (Although he always seemed to be in his unofficial uniform– a solid-colored sleeveless or short sleeved tshirt!) Watching for wildlife like turkeys, birds and deer could occupy him for hours. His handmade wooden lawn ornaments were made with care, and gave him purpose after he stopped working. He was quiet, strong and strict. But behind the steely exterior, he was a softie who loved his family and would do anything to help them. And he did. I only recently learned stories about how he helped raise his younger brothers and sisters after his mother died. He has been a father-figure to many. He didn’t have an easy life, but he never gave up. As his mobility decreased due to Parkinson’s and other health problems, his stubbornness increased. He wasn’t living life the way that he wanted to. On September 24, my grandfather passed away. It wasn’t completely unexpected, because his health had been deteriorating. I really do believe he’s happier now, but the finality still makes me sad.
I will cherish the memories of time spent with him. Love you, Grandpop!