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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

On Saturday the Big Guy and I headed down to see my family and celebrate my grandpa's 80th birthday.

Some folks are probably saying, "Good Lord, my parent's are in their 70's. How is your grandpa so young?"

Well, let's put this in perspective. My grandma gave birth to my mom when she was 20. My grandpa was 21.

They were young when they started their family. There is no science here folks. Nature took over.

Now, fast forward to 1971 and my mom was 21 when she had me.

I'm lucky. I have young parents. And young grandparents.

Some of my best memories from childhood revolve around my grandparents. My grandpa would often take all the change out of his pocket, hold it in his hand, give me a peek at the coins and let me guess how much was there. Often times I was close enough that I would get to keep the change.

$1.78 to a 9 year old is a big deal!

My grandma wasn't a kissy-love-on-you kind of grandma. She believed in tough love. She was a pack-a-day (or more) chain smoker and chain coffee drinker. But that aside, she was a talented seamstress and loved to paint old saw blades.

My grandpa had to be careful with his saws. If he wasn't looking one would end up as a clock with some nature scene painted on it.

Visits to my grandparent's always ended the same. Good-byes, see-you-later, and call-me's were plentiful. Then as we drove away, grandma always stood in the dining room looking out the window waving until we were out of site.

Sadly, in 1996 my grandma passed away from a 2nd heart attack. The bypass surgery that happened in November 1995 wasn't enough prevention. She did what she could too. She stopped smoking on the spot and cut down on the coffee. But it all wasn't enough.

Shortly after her death, my grandpa had an auction to "start new". It was a tough decision for all of us. But you just don't argue with a man 40+ years older than you are who is a widow.

The day of the auction, the yard was filled with monarch butterflies. The younger grand-kids started calling them "grandma" when one got close. And to this day, anytime we see a monarch butterfly we say "Hi grandma!".

Needless to say, when you say it around people who don't know the story--they look at you like you've lost your mind.

The birthday party brought this full circle. The Big Guy had an experience with a caterpillar while I was in the house working on the video (see below). It went like this:

BG: You should have been out here. There was a HUGE caterpillar on my shoe and we couldn't get it off! Apparently it will turn into a monarch butterfly....
Kelley: Wait. You had a to-be monarch butterfly on your shoe?
BG: Yes. Why?
Kelley: I don't think I've told you this. But we, as a family, consider monarch's to be grandma
BG: Really? Well, she must like me because she wasn't moving.
Kelley: Consider that a compliment. She was really hard to please
Aunts & my mother (together in unison): No doubt!

So, apparently, the Big Guy got a seal of approval from grandma.

The only other excitement at the party was my God-daughter Abbey (who's 3). She had a splinter in one of her little toes. I helped her get it out and in the process she found the solarcane sunburn spray. Conversation went like this:

Abbey: What's this
Kelley: That's solarcane.
Abbey: What's it for?
Kelley: That's for sunburns
Abbey: I have a sunburn
Kelley: No you don't.
Abbey: Uh huh. (pulls up her shorts). Look. Right here.
Kelley: Abbey...that's a skeeter bite. That's not a sunburn
Abbey: Yes it is.
Kelley: No it isn't.
Abbey: Yes it is.
Kelley: Don't try it kid. I know all your tricks. You're not getting any solarcane.
Abbey: Oh....OK.

Even though grandma wasn't here, I know she was looking down at us, enjoying the fact that we all came together to see grandpa for his birthday.

He is now on his way out to Montana with my mother.

I'm waiting to hear if they both make it to Montana or if one of them was mistakenly left at a truck stop somewhere in Wyoming.

Enjoy the video!

Note: When you click the play button, it may seem as thought it's "stuck" on buffering. It's not. Just be patient. The video itself is about 10 minutes long.

And yes, that is me, at my 10th grade church confirmation. Don't I look happy!

Gratulerer med dagen, Bestefar!

(That's "Happy Birthday, Grandpa" in Norwegian).

1 comment:

jcbroske said...

I came across your blog and just wanted you to know that I enjoyed watching the video you had created it was very nice. I sent him a card but am uncertain that he got it.