Today’s post is a tribute to my Gramps. The 16th was the anniversary of his death and today is his birthday.
He was my hero. If I had an opportunity to do something with him I would. I followed him everywhere and I don’t remember him ever being annoyed.
When I was little he worked during the week and some Saturdays too, but when he was home we did everything together. Nothing was ever boring. Every moment contains some special memory.
On the weekends he’d take me to wash the “Volvie” (his Volvo) at the garage and we would eat ice-creams while we waited.
We would go to the green grocer and buy fruit and veggies for the week, I was allowed to choose any fruit or vegetable that I liked and it would be labelled as mine. I would usually choose mangos or lychees, or sultana grapes. I think that made their flavour even sweeter. After the veggies were bought we would go to “check a Checkers – just up your street” and he would buy me a box of smarties or Sugus.
We would sit on the veranda and wait for the lady to walk passed with the mealies, we would secretly hope that the man on the ice-cream bicycle would pass too so we could hide from Gran and eat Eskimo Pies and drink Coke floats before she even realised we were up to our tricks.
Late afternoons we watered the garden and if Gran was watching tennis all afternoon we’d irritate her by spraying the lounge windows with the hose. We would then take Tiger out for a walk on the pavement and laugh at the silly little dog scratching and rolling on the grass.
Gramps would make recordings of him and I just talking nonsense. I only have one of these tapes now but I am sure that there were many. Every one of them contained another special memory.
He would always make you laugh. He did such silly tricks and I honestly can’t remember a time when these moments didn’t have me rolling on the floor and crying with laughter.
If he made some weird dish like tripe and onions I would be there sharing it with him.
I am certain that it is through him that I have my enjoyment of giving. He gave to those less fortunate; he gave to charities and even saw to it that little Tiger had everything his heart desired.
Then he got Alzheimer’s at a time of my life that I wish he was lucid and could have continued to be my rock. Every day another “piece” of him was missing. The jokes became less as illness and pain took over, I couldn’t say anything then – there were way too many others “feelings” floating around in the air – but my heart was breaking. Why – because he remembered everyone else but me – losing him to this was worse than losing him to death. He was around but he wasn’t. It’s like all the memories you made together never existed to him.
I would love to be able to block this part of my memories out – but just like the fruit at the green grocer it makes those times we spent together even sweeter, memories that are unique to us an no-one else.