Today is my Grandpa Mac's birthday. He was my mom's dad and I loved him more than ever.
When I was a little girl I used to run around without a shirt on in the summer. I was such a tomboy that I used to pray to God to make me a boy. My mom and dad let me run around half naked because it was the 70's. Everyone was half naked! I remember one night in summer when my Grandpa was over for dinner, we were all in the backyard and the sun was just going down to where the day is touching night and the lightening bugs are just starting to blink. The summer air had turned a bit chilly, but being a kid I did not care. I ran up to my Grandpa and he wrapped his arms around me and asked "aren't you cold?" I can still feel the warmth of his arms that night. It was one of those wonderful moment hugs-the kind that are given so freely and accepted without hesitation. The kind that you will remember long after the hug has been released and will touch you forever.
My Grandpa used to come over every Wed. night for spaghetti dinner at our house. After my Grandma Mac died (I was only one-oh how I wish I had known her longer) my Grandpa would rotate houses for dinner. My mom has 2 sisters and a brother, so it worked out well. We had Wed. night. Well, Grandpa would come in and sit in the big chair in our living room and turn on the news. Now, when I was a kid any other night of the week before dinner we watched Welcome Back Kotter except for this one night. I didn't really mind though-I would snuggle in between my Grandpa's feet and sit. Grandpa Mac had one wooden leg and one regular leg. He would sit watching the news and I would creep my hand up his pant leg feeling his wooden leg. I would pull his sock up and then push it down and then pull it up and then push it down. I was always amazed at how smooth the wood was and how his sock was able to stay up! I also remember my grandpa never tiring of me playing with his wooden leg. He never told me to shoo, or to stop. He just sat there, watching the news and making me feel fully accepted by him.
Grandpa also had a pocket full of caramels ready to give out to all of his grandchildren. He also had a special smell to him. Now, many of my close friends know that I have a very sensitive nose. I associate events and people with the smell of it all. I used to go into my parent's bedroom when I was a little girl and pick up my mom's pillow and take in her scent when she was not home. I still do that when I hug her-I breath in deep so that I can take her in fully. Anyway, I remember my Grandpa's scent. When I was pregnant with my son, I would be walking or driving in my car and all of a sudden I would smell my Grandpa. I also craved caramel candy-I felt my Grandpa near... I felt like he already knew my son.
I was just an adolescent when my Grandpa passed away. I was in that horrible stage of girl/woman where you want so desperately to be cool, yet at the same time your emotions are still as a child's. Well, I sat at the funeral of the man who I loved most in the world and did not cry... I tried to play it cool. Then something happened, my cousin Dave (who is a big-time Doctor now... so proud of him!) broke down and started to sob. Here was Dave-who I had always thought was cooler than me-was crying. I started sobbing as well. My grandpa was gone, and he apparently meant as much to my cousins as he did to me--he somehow made all of us feel as if we were the most important one in his life.
I watch my own father with my kids today and he is the same kind of Grandpa as my Grandpa Mac was. He loves my kids enormously and they think he is the greatest. What a gift-to have the love of your Grandpa on your side... always!
Happy Birthday Grandpa Mac. I love you~