A few weeks ago, my Grandpa Barnes died. He was 99 years old. I am sad.
But, I am blessed. All of my grandparents shared in shaping me into the person I am today. They taught me how to cook, love, play, laugh, save, roll dice, and play an instrument. They never spanked me and they gave me more fruit-loops than I could ever want. Grandpa Barnes was the fun one. He jingled coins in his pocket and he always had sweets to share. He taught me how to golf, pole vault, and drink beer on the lake at 9 am. For most of my life, I thought he walked on water.
I am sad. Sad that I won’t hear his family whistle. Sad that we won’t shoot whiskey together. Sad that I won’t hear him tell politically incorrect jokes. Sad that he won’t deal blackjack to my kids. Sad that we won’t eat ribs and shrimp appetizers together. Sad that I won’t hear him mispronounce Spanish words. Sad that I won’t feel his whiskers on my face.
But I am blessed. He validated me as an athlete. He let me take his sedan to the Homecoming Dance. He showed me where he grew up and he took me to the grave of his grandpa, where we both cried. He loved to goose people and he never held in a burp.
I am sad.