Last week I started thinking about my dad’s dad or grandpa as he was known to my sisters and I. He’s more of a myth than a reality to me. I only had the fortune of being around him 3 or 4 times, the last time I was around 13 years old. Even then he was sort of mythological to me. He was a strong, quiet man – a Montana man. He hunted and fished and did crochet. I didn’t know grandpa, but he sounds like he was a great guy. My mom tells me that the few times she interacted with him he was a sweet man. My dad has such great stories of the times he spent with his dad. Coincidentally, on my bi-weekly call home this week my dad spent the better part of an hour telling me stories of his childhood – of his dad. There’s a warmth in my dad’s voice when he speaks of his father, you can hear the sorrow of how much he misses him; how much he wants to share his dad with us, with me.
I wonder how much of grandpa I actually know in my own dad. My dad is quiet and strong. He hunts and fishes and likes to draw. He loves deeply. Under some gruffness, he’s a sweet guy. Perhaps I’ve known grandpa all along – not the intricacies like his favorite color or food, but the real stuff. How he loved people and was protective of his family. These are things I’ve seen in my own dad. In the ignorance of youth I ignored them in favor of easy angst. As I have become a father myself, and my level of angst has subsided, I’ve started to see how much of my dad lives inside of me. Some of it scares me, but much more brings me comfort. I wonder if its the same with my dad and his dad.
I wish I knew grandpa better, that would have been nice. Still, I’m happy with the man he produced that would become my dad. I want Jamil to know his grandpa, but more than that I want him to see all the good things his grandpa has instilled in me. Hopefully I can do the same with him for his kids.
FYI, the photo is of the 3 of us, my grandpa, my dad and me a very long time ago.