Friday, July 25, 2014

Deconstructing a Life via Fun Times

Gramps was MUCH more than his guns. 

At various times over his 90 years, Grampa pursued archery, hunting, fishing, bowling and golfing. Of these, fishing stayed with him the longest. He fished up into his late 80's. When asked why he would not go anymore, he'd say his old fishing spots were being encroached upon. But I am certain his declining health was a factor too.

Grampa must have fished with all of us at some point, so it seems. He practiced the shore, boat, and ice varieties. He and his father even made the local paper back in the day (Jan. 6, 1953 to be exact), ice fishing one day. 

Fishing, in all it's forms, was unquestionably the outdoor interest where he had invested in the most gear. More on that later.

The true constant though with which he occupied much of his later years was woodworking. He had enough tools and gadgets for three people. Funny, because that worked out well for me, my brother and my Uncle. Good thing my dad didn't want any of it.

The volume of Gramp's wood projects, both finished and unfinished, is both impressive and problematic. What are we supposed to do with all of it? That too is for another time.

There were of course other smaller, shorter lived passions, like a stamp collection and a handful coins, which were noteworthy for only being old, but not for much else.

Where am I going with all of this? Well besides laying out future things I need and want to talk about, it is clear to me that the sum of all these parts still does not equal the whole man. The things left behind are mute testimony to an aspect of a life lived. Hopefully of a time, or times shared and enjoyed. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

An End & A Beginning

This is the first of what will be many posts.

18 days ago, I lost my Grandfather Earl. Grampa made it to his stated goal of 90 years old just 24 days before he died. His passing was peaceful, and I was among those there at his bedside at the end. I consider that a gift.

Earl was a fixture in my life for all of my 44 years. He and I loved each other dearly.

Grandma died in 2000, and over the past 14 years, many have watched out for Earl. When his sister Evelyn, my Aunt Babe, died in 2005, I had the chance to buy her home, which was right next door to Grampa. My wife, my stepson and I have lived here since 2007.

As my family begins the painful but necessary process of deconstructing the life lived in his now empty home, possessions, prized and not so prized, take on new significance. Connections lost, severed, or just forgotten, are renewed. Memories return and take on new meaning. Greater insight and understanding are gained. And new questions arise that you realize you may never answer.

All of it means something, if you stop long enough to feel and to think of how to find that meaning.
Me & Grampa Earl circa 1970

Grampa's life was meaningful to me and to many. Whatever follows here in these pages in the future somehow starts here at the end.