This morning I lost a hero. This was not due to disappointment in a sports star or some other false idol, this was the death of a Grandparent. I have always thought of my grandparents as heroes and have been lucky enough to be blessed with 6 of the best in the world. Today I lost my first.
My Grandpa Johnson has always been larger than life, in both size and personality. He was the size of a mountain as a child with bib-overalls that could fit on a rhino, shoes that Frankenstein would have wiggle room in and hands the size of frying pans. The only thing that could match his stature was his laugh and his smile. As a kid I can remember doing anything it took to get a laugh out of him and see him flash a smile, I guess that really never changed throughout my life.
When I was growing up my dad was away a lot on business to provide the awesome life and opportunities that I have today. My Grandpa Johnson played a very large roll as a male figure in my life while dad was at work. He never tried to parent me but would always lend guidance. I would tell him about my day or week and he would ask “well what do you think about that?” never saying if I was wrong or right but always listening and helping me figure out the answer and meaning.
Grandpa J worked for the gas company and was a meter reader so he literally knew EVERYONE. Running errands with him was like hanging out with a rockstar, we would stop and talk with everyone. I was always amazed at his memory and how he knew every ones name, I really wish I could have picked that up from him.
Some of the stories of my Grandpa’s glory days are among the funniest shenanigans I have ever heard. If you sat down to get the stories from some of his buddies you could write a book (although I’m not sure they’d ever tell you the whole story). My own shenanigans were always something he got a kick out of, this is one thing I guess I did pick up from him.
On weekends that I couldn’t be in the plastics plant with my dad the next best thing was making the rounds with Grandpa. This included stops at Great Grandma O’Brien’s, Uncle Loyd and Aunt Marilyn’s and the stops that I wasn’t suppose to talk too much about, the local watering holes. At Great Grandma’s she would poke fun at Grandpa with her quick wit and we would all get a good laugh. There was always more of the same stopping to see his brother Loyd, quick jabs back and forth with no hurt feelings felt. And at the local watering holes we were greeted with a chorus of people hollering “Big D” I’d belly up to bar, order a Shirley Temple and wish I’d brought boots because it got deep in a hurry if you know what I mean.
I could literally go on for days. I love you Grandpa, thank you for all you have taught me, I hope I don’t let you down. Today I lost a hero in his physical form but I gained a legend that will continue to help guide me and will live on forever.