My granddad died this weekend. His funeral is today. I can’t say that I am very sad. His body has been shutting down, and it was finally time for him to go.
There are a lot of reasons to eulogize him, and I know a lot of stories will be told. He was a WWII veteran, a pillar of the community, a stalwart of his church. But he was just my granddad.
Granny and Granddad’s kitchen table was one of my favorite places to be when I was a little girl. Granny would make bologna sandwiches, the kind with the bologna sliced from the deli and I would peel the paper from the edges.
She would give me bowls of ice cream. Rocky road or cookies and cream.
Another of my favorite places was Granddad’s “building”.
In the middle of the afternoon….standing at the sink, eating peanut butter and saltine crackers, tomatoes straight from the vine, a glass of milk, and, on really special occasions, a banana and ginger snaps…. Granddad would announce that he was going to “the building”.
I loved that dirty old shed. It smelled of dirt and sweat and gasoline. There were always old bicycles and lawnmowers in various stages of repair or disassembly. I would hover at the end of the workbench and watch Granddad work.
I didn’t usually understand what he was working on, and I didn’t really care.
The smell of gasoline permeated the wood of the entire shed, and there were clumps of grass all around the floor. Flattened bicycle inner tubes hung from pegs on the wall. I would sit at the end of the workbench and repeatedly spin a vise that was mounted on the end.
Spin…. open…. spin…. closed.
I don’t remember any great life lessons being passed on during those times in the building. I remember being hot and sweaty. I remember bringing Granddad a glass of iced tea that Granny asked me to deliver.
I remember Granddad reaching into his back pocket for a bandana to wipe sweat from his brow. And I remember the smell. The glorious, heady stink of gasoline, oil, and years of sweat.
Granddad, I’m not sad that you are gone. It was time. Your stubborn, old body was tired.
You always loved me and you were proud of me. I hope there are lots of lawnmowers to be repaired in Heaven and lots of projects to be “tinkered” with.
I love you.