The speech that my dad will read on my behalf at my grandpa's memorial service:
Let me start off by saying that I wish very deeply that I could be there today. Bill is my grandfather, and his great grandson Dylan (my son) was admitted to the hospital the evening before I was supposed to leave for California. He is ok now, but he gave me a scare such that I didn’t want to leave him behind. I know that if grandpa were here today, he would tell me to stay home, because family is most important.
That is one of the great things about my grandfather, he loved his family very much. And there are a lot of people to love: 2 sons, 4 grandsons, 5 granddaughters, 2 great granddaughters, 2 great grandsons. And this is just the immediate family.
There are several things that I love about grandpa. He always made me laugh. I like to think that I got his sense of humor. Well, my dad got that directly from him. I think some of it trickled down to me.
So, with that in mind, here are 4 of my favorite memories about grandpa.
1. He always made time to hang out with me and my brother whenever we came to visit. I remember spending a ton of time at the pool. They had the most amazing pool in their neighborhood. Grandpa loved taking us to the pool. Shaun and I would be playing (or, more than likely fighting) and grandpa would show up in his swim trunks and ask us if we wanted to go to the pool. We would spend hours there. Going back and forth from the pool to the spa. But this is what I love about grandpa, he called them the cold pool and the hot pool. I have no idea why, but this is something that I am pretty sure every member of our family still calls the pool and the spa to this day. Hot pool and cold pool. So every time I take Dylan swimming in the years to come, I will call it the cold pool and explain that his great grandpa used to call it that.
2. When I was a little older and in college, grandma and grandpa wanted to take me out to a nice lunch for my birthday. They invited me to their club. I had never been there, but thought that I would just come straight from class. I gave very little attention to my outfit that day. I woke up late and had a test that I could not miss. I threw on the first thing that didn’t smell offensive and ran out the door. That afternoon when I arrive at the club, late by the way which I am sure didn’t bode well at the time, grandma took one look at me and politely said that we would have to have lunch somewhere else. There was an awkward pause while I looked over my outfit: jeans that covered my legs, tennis shoes, and a shirt that covered more than most. I didn’t get it. I mean granted, I didn’t look like I was going to a ball, but I didn’t look homeless either. I thought that I looked fine. Grandma broke the silence of my internal scrutiny and said that jeans were not allowed in the club. We were all hungry (even more so because of my tardiness) and now we were going to have to go someplace else for lunch. I felt awful and knew that grandma was annoyed with me, but grandpa leaned over out of her earshot and told me that I looked beautiful, held my hand and walked me to my car.
3. Grandpa had a liquor cabinet in the house. He would have a drink of whiskey once in a while. I would ask him for a sip every time I saw him drinking. One day when I was about 6, he gave in and gave me a sip. I, being 6, thought that it was apple juice, of ginger ale, so I chugged it. Immediately my mouth was on fire. I thought that I was going to throw up. I may have spit it out on the carpet, I do not remember. All I remember is that my mouth was on fire and the flames were reaching down my throat. This was the nastiest juice I had ever tasted. How could grandpa drink this? Grandma came in and I am sure gave grandpa an earful. She handed me a ginger ale to quench the fire. Grandpa was laughing. I never once asked for another drink from him. I made sure that every drink I got from that moment on came from grandma’s hands.
4. My wedding day, November 20, 2004. It was during the money dance (a dance where you pay the bride and/or groom to dance with them). I had a purse in my hand that everyone was supposed to put the money in. Once the dj announced that the dance would begin, grandpa rushed to be the first in line. I have never seen an 86 year old man walk that fast. He had the biggest grin on his face, asked me if I would dance with him, and then shoved a $100 bill down the front of my dress. That was by far the best dance of the night.
There are many memories. But these are just a few.
Grandpa, you will be missed. But your memory will live on. Every time I go swimming, every time I feel a bit underdressed, every time I drink whiskey, and every time I look on the mantle and see the picture of us dancing at my wedding. But that’s not all, I will think of you when I play with my kids, and when I sit down for a holiday meal. I will think of you whenever I see a golfer on tv. I will think of you as I raise my kids and eventually my grandkids and I will be grateful for the example that you gave me. You taught me how to be a wonderful parent and how to love my family. And not only did you make it look easy, but you reminded us all that family always comes first.