The test of an adventure is that when you are in the middle of it, you say to yourself, "Oh, now I've got myself into an awful mess; I wish I were sitting quietly at home." And the sign that something is wrong with you is when you sit quietly at home wishing you were out having lots of adventure. -Thornton Wilder

The nice thing about being confused is you get a chance to notice things a lot better than if you knew where you were going.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Grandpa


Today is a significant day between my Grandfather and I.

Here is my grandfather as a young man.  He loved baseball and was quite a good player.  Good enough in fact that a major league baseball team wanted to sign him up for their farm team in the minors.  He was underage at the time and needed written permission from his parents.  Unfortunately his mother saw no value in such nonsense and refused to sign the forms.  I cannot begin imagine how much better his life could have been had he been able to pursue his passion.  Well yes I could.  At that time he would have been able to play for the love of the game and not for the love of money as baseball players of today.  Anyway, moving on...
My memories of him really begin at between the ages of 5 and 6 for me.  This is at the very same time as when he suffered the greatest loss in his life, the loss of his only son, my father, at the all too young age of 27 to a drunk driver.  I can look back now and see the sadness and emptiness in his life that I was then unaware of as a child.  He was a tile setter all of his life, a true craftsman of the trade - an artist in a profession that we just do not see much of anymore.  In his later years he was delegated to doing repair work in the projects of central L.A., the epitome of despair and poverty in the black community. When he was eligible to retire on Social Security he pondered his options and chose to work one more year so as to benefit with a slightly larger monthly Social Security check.  Here he taught me one of the greatest lessons in life.  He died before that year was complete.  Therein is the significance of this day, for today I am exactly the same age, to the day, as was he when my grandmother found him dead.

I was re-reading the letter to me from my grandmother detailing the events of that day, May 1, 1967 but was unable to get through it.  Maybe next time.


16 comments:

  1. a lovely tribute to your grandpa John and I can well imagine you not being able to read that letter through

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  2. This is a remarkably honest post. Loss of parents (or children) before the "due time" is something only those who have been through can really grasp.

    Thanks for putting this up.

    Stewart M - Australia

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  3. John, I feel your loss today. I celebrate your life - and know that you cherish the memories, even when you can't get through reading the letter. You know what it says and your heart knows. Thinking good thoughts and sending friendship over the waves...

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  4. What a nice tribute to your granddad, he must have been a nice man and a great example for you. People are complaining so much nowadays but things were not always better in the past times. Keep enjoying yourself with your rolling home as long as you can.

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  5. What a very moving post. Cheers to your grandfather and to you.

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  6. What a moving story John. Thanks so much for sharing. I do hope you will have a wonderful day today!

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  7. i echo stewart. very honest and painful.

    and i am so glad that you have been able to enjoy a retirement and adventures that your grandfather never did...

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  9. What a lovely post John, I'm sure he is proud of you, wherever he is now. :)

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  10. This is a lovely post. It hit me right where I live, as I lost my beloved Grandpa this summer. My thoughts are with you, hope you do something meaningful today. :)

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  11. This is a heart-wrenching post that says so much about love and life. So terribly sad that your grandfather lost his son, but he must have experienced great joy through you, his grandchild.

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  12. I don't have the words to say how I feel for you John. I lost my Dad (he passed away aged 44 on the 3rd of August 1971))to cancer when I was just 15 years old and it's only as I grow older and have my own son expecting my first grandchild that I realise what he missed.

    Take care my friend.

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  13. What a moving and heart felt post. The photo is absolutely amazing.

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  14. A touching post and a lesson to us all I think!

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  15. This is a heartfelt post to share with others.I was stunned when I read today was the same age your grandfather was as you are today when he died! That has to be a gut wrenching feeling to put a number, an age on it. Life is short, and you seem to be doing what you want to do in the motorhome with Sinbad on the road. Many are not that fortunate. Do what you can while you can...

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  16. Your story has touched my heart. How sad that he died before he retired. You have lived many years without your dad and granddad!

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