Thursday, August 02, 2012

Remembering My Dad: William's Grandpa

A photograph of Grandpa, taken by William.
One of my dad's great joys, in the last few years of his life, was his role as William's grandpa. After he retired from 30+ years at Kerr-McGee, he agreed to pick William up from school every day and hang out with him until Jennifer or I picked him up.

This meant, during William's kindergarten year, a half-day or more of entertaining a very active child (I'm not sure he realized what he was getting into at first). But Grandpa was more than up to the task.

An early lesson in computers.
Dad would wait until after school to run certain errands, so his grandson could come along. William, I think it's safe to say, knew how to find things at Home Depot better than most adults.

Grandpa also taught William the proper way to wash a car at the car wash, how to properly vacuum the interior, and how to handle a chamois - all skills he uses today.

There were days when Jennifer would come to pick William up, only to learn that Grandpa and William weren't finished playing yet. She would have to wait.

Grandpa readies his phone for a "photo finish"
at William's first Pinewood Derby
(that's William in the orange neckerchief).
One of the last things Dad, William and I did together was the Pinewood Derby. Grandpa basically built William's first Pinewood Derby car, because I did not inherit the "tool gene." We came to Grandpa's workshop, and he helped us cut and sand the car, set the wheels, and paint it. I know for a fact that Grandpa "tweaked" it when we went back home.

It was a great car, and it earned William a Pinewood Derby trophy as a Tiger Cub. Grandpa was there to watch, and he even helped man the finish line of the wooden track.

It was also, sadly, the only car Grandpa would help us build. We tried our best, but William and I never again built a car as good as that first one.

Grandpa died in November of 2006, when William was only in second grade. One of the things Dad told me he was saddest about, when he knew the cancer would win, was that he would not live to see William become an Eagle Scout. William is on track to make Eagle - he's a Star Scout now. I am confident he will make it in a couple of years.

And Grandpa will know.


Today would have been my Dad's 70th birthday. Happy Birthday Dad. We miss you.

Here are some previous remembrances:

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