Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gratitude Day 4: My Grandpa's Pipes

My Grandpa was quite a character. The only man I knew that owned more silk jackets and white leather shoes than I own diapers. For the record, I own lots of diapers. He always wore his hats at a jaunty tilt and had a joke, sometimes with a four-letter word in the punch-line, at the tip of his tongue. He was so fun to be around and made everyone around him feel happy. He was the kind of Grandpa that hid candy bars around his den, and would take us to McDonalds whenever he was in charge. He bought blue soda in bulk (hand it to the Canadian grocery stores) and when he couldn't remember your name he called you "Gorgeous" if you are a girl and "Handsome" if you were a boy. No one corrected him when he forgot their name. He drove a little red and white scooter around town as a retired senior citizen and loved to strike terror in the hearts of neighborhood wildlife and house pets. Otherwise a non-aggressive guy, he did love to shoot crows. From his balcony. In his underwear. I miss him.


For the record, I stole this picture from my cousin Carly's Blog - thanks Carly!

He had a career in radio and his voice could melt butter. He and my Grandma performed together (he sang and she accompanied him on the piano) and performed at many venues, especially retirement homes, weddings, funerals and church functions. They made a CD a while back, and I love to listen to it during the holidays. It reminds me where I came from and helps me remember him. In his underwear. Shooting crows. I miss him.

He passed away two years ago. The funeral was lovely and unforgettable. At the end we played a recording that he had prepared for his funeral long before he was even sick. At first I thought that perhaps singing at your own funeral would be strange and I wondered if people would think it slightly gauche. True to form, the beginning of the recording was my grandpa saying, "If you're listening to this, I'm gone now. And whether I'm going to heaven or hell, I'm sure I'll see many of you there" which preceded a beautiful version of the old gospel anthem "Going Home." The idea that we were departing from a beloved grandpa and had his own voice soothing and comforting us while celebrating his life, was very therapeutic and moving.

Fast forward to today: Sundays are usually chaotic around here. We attend Sunday afternoon church and my kids usually have quiet times/naps during that time. By the time the sun sets, my children resemble manic depressive rabid monkeys on uppers. Tonight, between time-outs and food fights I turned on my grandpa's CD and just sat. The Red Baron came and sat on my lap, and the Little Man soon followed. His soothing voice, repeating the songs that I loved as a rabid monkey, spoke to my children somehow, and they both calmed down. It was only a moment, but I know they heard him and something tells me they recognized his voice. Maybe he and the Little Man high-fived while passing in heaven (Grandpa died 2 months before the Little Man was born). I hope the Little Man got some good jokes out of him while there too. Something to make me secretly laugh, but publicly send him to time-out. Because I'm sure the jokes are inappropriate for even monkeys.

So today, I'm grateful for my Grandpa's pipes.

* I'm trying to figure out how to upload my very favorite song onto this blog. If anyone knows how to do that, please tell me and I will forever be indebted to you.

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