He had a new, blue, GMC pickup with a camper for traveling. He liked to travel. He especially liked to travel if he had a camper load of grandchildren. ( It was rather terrible riding back there in the camper. I always kept my nose smashed to the front window to avoid feeling claustrophobic.)
I don’t know what made me think of his elbows today. They had a sort of hook on them that wore out all his shirts right there at the elbow. He also had an injured finger that he couldn’t straighten. He messed it up when he was a boy and they were too poor to go to the doctor so it healed permanently crooked. He told the story over and over to us grandkids.
One day as a teenager I was at Grandpa’s house for a visit.. He sat in the living room telling his stories and quizzing me as usual.. He had his ankle resting on a knee and with his jack knife was trying to trim his toenails. It was rather scary watching him. He kept jabbing at the nails he couldn’t quite see , just nicking the offending nail and missing mostly…over and over. Finally I begged him to let me get a clippers and do it for him. To my relief he complied without any fussing.
I remember his contagious joy the most. He could make work seem like a party. He taught us to laugh rather than to mourn over things that were a disappointment or hard to like. He accepted the bumps in life as lessons and made sure we were doing that, too. He taught verbally in every situation. He truly taught us morning, noon, and night, rising up, lying down, and all along the way. At every turn in the road both literally and figuratively there was something to point out to make into a lesson, a story or into something to smile about. Mostly he wanted people to be cheerfully dependable and responsible.
I’ve been thinking about Jubilant, our grandson, who lives across the sea in Thailand. Will I ever mean as much to him as he does to me? Truthfully speaking it’s likely that he’ll never spend even an hour missing me unless I can somehow have as much influence on him as Grandpa did on me. So I am analyzing the time and influence Grandpa had with me. What was it that makes me miss him even today some 20 years after his passing? I think it was because he was truly interested in me personally. He kept track of me the same way he kept track of his 50 plus other grandchildren. It was a very personal thing. He wanted to make his impression on each of us individually. And he did!