I think that the role my grandpa relished the most in his life was that of "grandpa". I know that sounds weird and you might think "But, Rikki, he was a dad to his kids, and husband to his wife" but in my heart of hearts, I think being our grandpa was his numero uno.
I can only remember on time that he ever scolded me. I was bossing Hemmy around and he said to me in a stern voice "Rikki, you are not his mother. Please stop acting like it". I was horrified. I remember looking away so that he didn't see my eyes water and the redness in my cheeks. But I learned my lesson. I was never again bossy towards my brother (at least not in front of him!).
One of the greatest things about having him as my grandpa was how he was able to turn the mundane into something fun. We were always going on little adventures with grandpa. And he was VERY unconventional about our little escapades.
For instance, we had a cabin that was about a 90 minute drive from our hometown. Now most adults would try to postpone potty breaks until about half-way into the trip. Not grandpa. We would get to the very outskirts of our town (about 5 minutes into the trip) and he would declare that we needed an ice cream break! I kid you not. My little heart would start beating real fast because I couldn't believe my good luck. I didn't have to wait until we got to our destination for the fun to start, it began as soon as grandpa was around.
Then once we got to the cabin it was no holds barred. We always had a playmate in grandpa (grandma too). Golfing? Biking? Sandcastle building? You bet! He was up for it all. Grandpa was never in a rush. We were always able to enjoy the slower pace (not that he couldn't keep up if we did start going Mach 4...because he could). Grandpa taught us that it was okay to enjoy life at a slower pace. One of his favorite sayings was "We don't have to rush...we're retired!".
I remember one night at the cabin where Hemmy and I awoke to my grandpa asking us if we wanted to go for a midnight drive. Like any kids who have permission to be out after dark we pounced on the opportunity. The three of us slid in to the bench seat of his truck and drove down the country road in search of deer. On the way to our destination grandpa kept taking off his glasses to clean them. He kept commenting to us that he must have a really dirty pair of glasses because he couldn't see out of them. He left it up to my brother and I to figure out the joke (that it was the filthy windshield, not his glasses) and we thought we were hilarious.
When we finally got to the clearing where hundreds (I kid you not, this was rural Saskatchewan and they were everywhere) of deer were grazing, the three of us took in the scene. We jabbered about the deer and grandpa's dirty windshield the entire way back to the cabin. I will never forget that night. Grandpa could have gone to bed. But instead he took the time to do something special for us. He was always doing stuff like that.
To be continued...
The Best Grandpa That Ever Was...