So, my grandfather passed way yesterday. Just thought I’d get that out of the way early since that’s what this post is about and it will seem fairly strange if you don’t have that information. (Here’s a picture of him with my Grandma, it’s a little scratchy, but it was taken in the days before digital cameras. And it looks pretty cool and antique this way.)
My Grandpa always lived in the south. As far as I know. He pretty much jumped back and forth between Florida (he lived there before he was old. Truly a pioneer.) and Georgia.
Since he lived so far away from me (I grew up in Washington State, can’t get much further) I didn’t get to see him as much as I’d have liked to. But he was an interesting man.
Side note: Grandparents are strange things. They’re the perpetually old people that you see every once in a while. They love you and at times spoil you. Sometimes they yell at you just because you’re having fun. Jumping on the couch is fun. And, since they don’t grow older at a slower rate than you do, they always seem somewhat unknowable.
I do know a couple things about my Grandpa. He had a lot of jobs. I’m not really sure what he would have considered his career to be exactly. I’m not even sure if he knew the answer to that question.
Grandpa liked to watch TV. He could have gone pro.
I know he moved his family to BFE Florida to run a roadside motel. One of those relics of Americana doomed to atrophy under the new interstate highway system.
I know that he used to run hooch over county lines. Yes, he was a bootlegger. And not those weenie types of bootleggers that they have today with their cheap DVDs and live concert performance CDs. The-pedal-to-the-metal kind. Always on the lookout for Johnny Law. Racing down the back roads with a trunk full of ‘shine on a clandestine mission to meet some ape with a wad of lettuce.
Sure, I’m probably romanticizing a little. But why not? I like to write in that hard-boiled 30s milieu. Plus, old-timey bootlegging is kind of cool. Illegal? Sure. Cool? Yup.
I also know that he sold cars. He probably sold quite a few cars. But I’ll bet the number of cars sold was a secondary concern. I’m sure he was in the car sales game just for the thrill of the “deal.”
I also know that my Grandpa thought that I was some kind of Hollywood big shot. Who am I to argue? I know that he was proud of what I am doing out here in LA. I know that he liked my music. I know he would like the sitcom. Just seeing me on “TV” would make him happy (YouTube would probably count). Like I said, who am I to correct him. Yes, I’m not as big a mover and shaker as he probably thought. But I’ll take it. After all, he was a very old man with some very old ideas, if he wants to think that I lunch with Darryl Zanuck, so be it. My sister is a massage therapist and he was convinced she’s really a hooker. So Hollywood star I’ll take.
I also know that as I get older, I’ll understand my Grandpa more and more. And that makes me realize that aging does have its upside.
Anyway. I’ll miss you Grandpa. My thoughts are with you, Grandma, Dad, Kathy, Jeanie and the rest of my family. I love you all and I’m thinking of you.
Fun Fact: When I used to visit my Grandparents in Florida, my Grandpa would take me with him on his morning walk to get the paper. He would even get me a little something at McDonalds. Which after traveling with my father and his luke-warm cheese sandwiches was heaven. My Grandma’s world-class cooking was also a welcome respite.
So, thanks you to Grandpa and Grandma for rescuing me from dad’s notoriously spare cross-country travel budget.
But, you know, sometimes now I even actually miss those nasty cheese sandwiches.
Oh, and some more trivia. In my Grandparents old neighborhood in Tallahassee lived one of the oldest trees in Florida.
…or something. I was a kid. That’s what they told me. Anyway, let’s just say that it’s true and be impressed.
And here’s another picture of my Grandpa with my family. I’m not pictured so you can enjoy it all the more. And, man, does Grandpa look tall!