Well, dear readers, I have some sad news. My beloved grandpa died this weekend. Any of you who are regular readers will know how close he and I were. In the last year and a half or so, since my grandmother died, and Musty and I have had dinner with him two nights a week, which was especially wonderful. We always looked forward to those evenings with my grandpa.
My Grandpa was truly one of the most remarkable, amazing, and beloved people ever. Truly, I do not have one single negative memory of him. I never saw him act with malice or superiority or greed or judgment. He was genuinely curious about everyone he met, and loved to strike up conversations with anyone and everyone. In fact, pretty much everyone who ever met him was instantly a fan - he had such grace and charm and sweetness. He was totally earnest and kind, with no need for irony or snarkiness. He was a man of action, who formed relationships and experiences that enriched the world. He and my grandma were both very involved with local environmental causes - state parks, natural history museum, trails, Sierra Club... They loved to back pack, and especially they shared their love for Yosemite with all of us. Around the time that I was born, they served two years in the Peace Corps in Ghana, which was a very meaningful experience for both of them. They also had a huge garden - and you've all probably read many posts where I blogged about the figs, raspberries, butternut squash, concord grapes, apples, greens, tomatoes, plums, apples, and persimmons from their garden. A simple search on the word "grandpa" on my blog yeilds so many results! He really was such a joy to cook for - perpetually enthusiastic and grateful. "Oh wow, delicious dinner, honeybunch!" "A girl of many talents!" I'll really miss cooking for him, and all his sweet little expressions of appreciation.
He had such a peaceful and dignified death, which is just what he wanted. After falling and breaking his hip, he developed pneumonia, and was having a really tough time breathing. He made a conscious choice that he had lived "92 wonderful years" and that "it's time to cash in my chips" and make a "graceful exit". We were all there with him, touching him and being with him as his breath got slower and slower, and finally stopped. It was beautiful and amazing and sad too. I really miss him a lot already, but I am also so happy for him that he was able to go out on his own gentle terms.
Well, my first inheritance was a box of his most beloved cereal, Super Nutty Toffee Clusters, from Trader Joes, along with a bag of Costco brand Dried Blueberries. He loved to have a stockpile of his favorite items on hand, so that he'd never run out. So, after he died, my aunt gave me these two goodies. Of course, I remembered him by having a big bowl of cereal with a handful of the blueberries on top, just the way he liked it. Whoa! The cereal is pretty darned good, but those blueberries are sweetened and they pop a major sugar punch. It's crazy to think of my sweet grandpa getting such a major sugar blast every morning!
ps. this great photo of the two of us was taking by r.r.jones, a local photographer. I met him when we both had our artwork in a local exhibit, and when my grandpa came to see the show, it turns out that Ron knew him from the gym! Until the day he fell, my grandpa had been going to the gym 3 days a week. He was quite a super star at the gym, and Ron took a cute picture of us two together at the exhibit. Then, unfortunately, he lost the file. So, he brought us into his studio and took some real "studio shots" of us together. I"m so happy to have these beautiful photos. You can really see my grandpa's huge, warm, sparkly spirit.