The sound of a coffee grinder running early in the morning with the smell of cinnamon rolls wafting on the air always reminds me of my grandpa. I have many memories of my grandpa and this is one. I can’t be sure if it’s correct, but it’s what my brain tells me is true. It’s Christmas and I wake up to the sound of the coffee grinder. Grandpa is in the kitchen with my mom and grandma. Mom is making cinnamon rolls and grandpa is making coffee. I wish that we’ll be able to open presents before breakfast but I know it’s a wish wasted because we never, ever do; always breakfast first. Mom tries to console my sister and I when we complain and beg saying the grandpa never let them open gifts until after church. I have many memories of my grandpa. He and grandma came down to southern California every Christmas and would usually stay until after my sisters birthday in the spring. Then in the summer we’d visit central Oregon for a month or so. We spent a lot of time with my grandparents considering how far away they lived.
Seeing his skull and crossbones tattoo for the first time and thinking how cool my grandpa was. I wondered about it for a long time before I got the story out of my mother when I was a little older. He got the tattoo on skid row in LA (I think) when he was in the service. He was a staff sergeant in the Air Force during World War II. When they were finished with the tattoo they taped a bit of brown paper towel over it and sent him on his way. He was lucky he didn’t get some disease really.
Seeing an old photo of him for the first time and thinking how handsome he was! Him and my grandma made quite the adorable couple. As a child I don’t think we realize that the older folks in our lives used be young once too. It blew my preadolescent mind to see them young and attractive. It blew my mind even further when I looked at the old photos of my grandpa and immediately understood why my grandma took a shine to him. His smile, the twinkle in his eye, he was irresistible.
His Donald Duck voice. I LOVED that impression. It always made me laugh. He also would use “bleah” as an expletive which I’m told he got from Snoopy. Hearing grandpa say “oh bleah!” is another one of my favorite memories.
Going fishing with grandpa. It was at a stocked pond, but it was still so fun to catch, gut and cook those fish. I know my sister and I both looked forward to those outings.
My grandpa lived a long, long life. He died last week at the age of 90. He was many things throughout his life, a son, brother, Reverend, husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather. I am sad at his passing. I’m sad that Jack won’t be able to recall the Donald Duck voice, or hear him say “Oh bleah!” or go fishing with him. But in my heart I know my grandpa is happy and at peace. I love you grandpa.