Last Sunday my last living grandparent passed away unexpectedly. Well, about as unexpected as it can be for someone who was nearly 90 years old, I guess, but he was so energetic it came as a shock. Here was a man who still drove his car, barely needed a walker or cane, and was running from horse show to horse show with his “special lady friend” so often her kids joked they needed to make an appointment to see her. He was a busy dude, always on the go.
Grandpa was never without his cowboy hat, a big belt buckle, a pair of cowboy boots, and more often than not, a bolo tie. I used to love to go visit his farm and pick crab apples or play in the horse barn, where he had draft horses, cows, and my personal favorite, the stereotypical barn cat who always seemed to have delivered a litter of kittens just in time for my visit.
He had a great sense of humor and even as a kid, I knew he was a little bit of a jokester just from the twinkle in his eye he got whenever he was trying to pull one over on you. He had this fake monkey puppet (it might’ve been another animal, but monkey sticks in my head for some reason), that he used to try to convince my brother and I was real. He was so sincere and made the monkey’s movements so believable that I could never tell (as a kid) that he was the one making the monkey slowly turn its head to meet my eyes before quickly burying its head back in his shoulder because it “was shy.”
I’ll really miss him, and whenever I have a crab apple or see someone wearing a pair of cowboy boots, I’ll think of him and what a great, kind, wonderful grandfather he was.