I wrote some time ago about my Mother’s Mother, my maternal Grandmother. I have yet, until now, to write about her father. I guess it makes sense I have more distinct memories of Grandma, since I was either running amok playing with my cousins or in the house. My Grandfather, however, did play a decent role in my young life.
Mostly, I remember the little things. Like how he said “yucky” in a very amusing voice every time someone (other than my Grandmother) kissed him, for example. He had a fondness for the fudge-stripe shortbread cookies. He enjoyed old cartoons (at least he did when the grandkids were around). And he always sat in the same spot on the bench outside the shop.
The shop always smelled of metal, oil, gasoline, and WD-40. I wasn’t really allowed in the shop much, but managed to sneak into my Grandpa Bennett’s domain on occasion. It was always a thrill. I loved watching him work. He was talented.
He had huge piles if old motorcycles, car parts, junker cars, and a few working ATVs. I loved playing hide and seek in those piles, and making impossible, complicated, wonderful imaginary machines for our games.
As I said, he loved them fudge-stripe cookies. They kept them in a cookie jar shaped like an old man. It was a figure of a friar holding a sign which read “Thou shalt not steal cookies.” It made me laugh. On my trip this weekend, I saw one just like it in an antique mall. It made me smile as I remembered my grandpa walking over and casually taking a handful of cookies out of the jar. It also made me tear up as a wave of sadness crashed over me. Has it really been eight years since he passed away?
My children, when I have them, will never get to meet this extraordinary man who raised my uncles and mother. A man who married so young, but remained married for sixty years before his passing. A man who, in his seventies, still loved to work in his shop.
My mamma carried his “casket” at the funeral. He was cremated, so it was really just a little box. All that big man was reduced to such a small space. As she tearfully walked down the aisle at the funeral, she kissed the box. Then started giggling at this thought:
He will be saying “yucky!” for eternity.
I think he is with my grandmother, and family on the other side. He is still happily in love and sharing fudge-stripe shortbread cookies while he thinks of the next great adventure.
I love you, Grandpa.