6 years ago, my grandpa, who all his grandchildren called “poppy,” lost his battle with lung cancer. At the time, life didn’t seem very fair. First, he won his fight against bladder cancer and within just weeks of being diagnosed with lung cancer, totally unrelated, he left us. As more time has passed, I still don’t think life was very fair, but at the same time, we were sure lucky to have him for a young 82 years. And his memory still lives strong.
We can all probably say something nice about everyone in our lives or about people who are no longer with us, but with complete sincerity, I can say there was/is no one like poppy. With white curly hair slicked back with vaseline, old Levi’s he wore up to his belly button and always a doggie treat in his pocket, he was everyone’s friend (as well as the slowest driver in the world). He was the guy in line to buy fish’s friend, he was the dog owner at the park’s friend, he was the golf pro’s friend, etc. He was never short of words, needless to say, and never short of antics, whether insisting I pose for pictures in a certain way, I touch the fish’s eye in the market or walking into a room with a clown mask, not saying anything. He made the best mustaches from burned wine corks, he was a master shirley temple drink maker and his smile was priceless. And of course, he was the best dog trainer in the world.
I still think of him a lot, especially since he always, always said to me, “Speak in Spanish. I want to hear something in Spanish.” He didn’t know Spanish, but he liked to hear me speak it. What would he think of me now? I can imagine calling him, speaking to him in only Spanish, then hearing giggles on the other side of the phone. His laugh is as fresh as the day is young!
He was a special, special grandpa and today and always he will have a special place in my heart. I hope he is resting in peace.