My grandfather was the kindest, gentlest man I have ever met. The only man I’ve ever met who has come close to him in that department (sorry, Whydaddy), is Canape’s Granddaddy. They would have gotten along fabulously, rocking on a back porch, eating peanuts or doing some little work with their hands as they talked slowly and deliberately about the matters of the day.
My Pop-Pop (as my cousin and I named him as toddlers, nearly 30 years ago) would have been doing some whittling, and Canape’s Granddaddy would have been working on his latest needlepoint, a craft that he took up and used to do with his wife for years and years on end.
My Grandma would have been in the kitchen just off the back porch, baking up a storm and cluck-clucking her way through the morning. “Those menfolk!” she would say, as she bustled her way through the cookies, the roast, and the dishes, moving on to the carpetsweeping in the next room. She was always busy, and she always finished everything on her list.
But my grandfather, my Pop-Pop, always had time to sit and talk with a friend, a stranger, a grandchild. He looked his companion in the eyes and listened — really listened — and asked gentle questions if the silence grew too great. But it really never did, as he was the master of the comfortable silence … the companionable cup of tea … the cozy bowl of cereal together just before bedtime.
My Pop-Pop was my rock, my refuge from the busyness that was inherent in rushed trips up north for holidays and even the long days of summer, for we knew that they would come to an end and we would travel home in the car all too soon. But with Pop-Pop, the days stretched onward without end, and I never felt that I had to accomplish anything or be anyone but myself. I loved him when I was a child, and, though he died when I was only 10, I love him still.
Three weeks ago, we named my last child after him. It’s an old-fashioned, somewhat awkward name … but for me, it evokes the kindness, the gentleness, and the gift of just being truly present in the moment. Without all the to-do lists and the rush to accomplish the tasks of the day. It is a gift, and I am grateful to my Pop-Pop for giving it to me when I was young enough to appreciate it.
This post was written in tribute to my Pop-Pop and as a gift for J at Oh the Joys, who just lost her grandfather. For more Grandpa stories, click over to Don’t Take the Repeats and see what other bloggers are saying.