New Blog Address

Ryan's blog can now be found HERE.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

My Grandpa

I never knew my "real" grandfather, but my mom's stepdad was a pretty cool dude. Check out this great post from my mom's blog: My Dad

I remember the first time we met: you were painting the house we rented from your dad. At lunch time you sat down beside me on the porch and started telling me stories. You were tall and strong with those muscles that looked like baseballs in your arms, a bachelor looking for trouble. You were the one who brought songs to my life with your Harlem Goat and the silly way that you would drawl the words out at the end. But I didn’t like it when you dated my mom: I still prayed for my “real” dad to be with us.

I had lots of fun when you came over as long as you didn’t marry my mother. But I guess you proposed and I started to hate you because you wanted to take the place of my “real” father. The five kids you chose to love were undisciplined and used to being independent, but you took us on the tractor and to feed the cows. You were a good babysitter, but not our dad. You took us to your mom’s for candy and Superman on the TV, because we didn’t have one.

I yelled at you a lot and told you I hated you. I couldn’t let go of the prayers for my dad to come back. But you taught me how to drive your truck with patience and laughter. You let me drive your brand new John Deere tractor on the highway and to the elevator. You taught me how to plow the old-fashioned way on a tractor without a cab. You planted the flowers and trees and taught me to love the farm and open air. You gave us a pony, rabbits and dogs. You took us to Florida for a family honeymoon. We fought about politics: you liked Carter; I liked Reagan. We both loved Kennedy (but maybe not now).

We burned down your shed and then your barn and lived to tell about it. The drought came and you sent us to college. Four out of five of us graduated. Your pockets emptied out. You walked me down the aisle in my fifty dollar dress, but you looked handsome and happy in the ruffled shirt (no complaints).

Mom wanted dad back, too and you waited for her. You said, “She’s really a good woman.” And you loved her when she wandered. I moved away and had kids and didn’t come home much. It was too painful to see the distance between you and my mom. I wrote dear dad in the fathers day cards I started sending to you. I’m glad I apologized for my childish hate, but you acted like you didn’t know what I was talking about.

You withered away and lost your ability to see or walk. Your baseball muscles were gone. But you sent me hand-made cards and a penny every birthday. You and Mom made up and got along the last year of 37. I wanted to take care of you, the dad of my heart, but you wanted to stay in your home where you were born 94 years before. I tried to get you the biggest bouquet to put on your casket. The flowers said “DAD.”

I got a lot of interests from you: love for flowers, writing, politics and rural living. But most of all you taught me to be faithful. I miss you, dad. Thanks for loving me.

The Harlem Goat
Oh there was an old man And he lived in a shack
And he had an old goat Tied in the back
One day that goat Wasn’t feeling fine
Ate three red shirts Right off the line
Old Dick got mad Gave him a whack
And he tied him to The railroad track
The whistle blew The train grew nigh
And that old Harlem Goat Was due to die
He gave three groans Three groans of pain
Coughed up those shirts And flagged the train
But a button got stuck In the middle of his throat
And that was the end Of the Harlem Goat!


lisa said...

I really liked her entry and the picture.

lisa said...

I really liked her entry and the picture.

Kyuboem said...

Ryan, please tell your grandmother "Thank you" from me (she doesn't have comments enabled).

Kyuboem said...

Oops... she's not your Grandma, but your MOM! OK, this time, tell her, "Sorry" for me... (as I do the Walk of Shame).

wilsonian said...

You've got me cryin'...