Much To My Delight

Much To My Delight


You’re gonna love my grandpa by the end of this post.

 

He insisted on giving me a full tour, even though I’d already visited several times.

My grandfather walked me through their living room, past the burnt orange couch from the ‘70s, the antique steamer trunk inherited from my great-grandmother, the shelf of shot glasses picked up on cruise ships and trips to Mexico. He showed me his new Keurig machine, the wood floor they installed in the computer room, the spare closet he converted into a makeshift bar.

Then he led me out the front door to check out the yard and driveway. It was October in Texas and it felt like heaven.

“Here’s the rosemary grandmother puts in her pot roast”, he said, pointing to a huge bucket of herbs.
“Over there’s the air conditionin’ unit. Still works real well.”
“That there’s the feral cat comes up into the front yard every mornin’.’”

I continued following him, grinning to myself as I delighted in how proud he was of his property and all the little odds and ends that make a house a home. I’d always heard that people became ornery as they got older, but my grandfather has been growing more joyful and charming with each passing year. Everyone enjoys being around him. He is splendid.

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Then he took me into the cleanest, most well-organized garage in the history of the world. In addition to two pristine cars, he also had a separate tiny storage space and garage door for his golf cart. Along the left wall, a framed photocopy of the Mona Lisa was sandwiched between a few knock-off Monets. Just adjacent to the art was a door with a tiny metal sign on it that read: “Man Cave”.

He opened the door and welcomed me inside. “This is my favorite place in the house,” he said. “This is my man cave!”

Granddad’s Man Cave didn’t have a flat screen TV or a recliner in it. There was no computer. No neon beer signs. He didn’t have a whole basement dedicated to a pool table or his favorite sports team.  My grandfather’s most treasured space was a pocket-sized room in the corner of his garage—only slightly bigger than a closet– with a small window and several shelves lining the walls.

Every nook and cranny was filled with memories. The room was one big scrapbook. There were faded black and whites of our ancestors. Pictures of my granddad as a little boy in west Texas wearing suspenders and newsboy caps. Newspaper clippings from his days as a school superintendent. Golf trophies. Photos of my father and aunt in high school. My brother and me as babies. My grandparents’ wedding from 1948. My wedding from last October. My cousin, my niece, my family. It was his life, and by extension, it was all of our lives. I started feeling a little emotional in that little room.

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jen grandma baby

“So what do you do in here, Granddad?” The tears were hot, and hard to blink back without him noticing.
“Aww, not much. Especially not in the summer–woowee–it’s too hot. But I like to come in here at least once a day and look around at my life.”

We retreated back into the house where my grandmother and aunt had been fixing lunch for us. It was hamburger, zucchini and a tiny baked potato–a simple meal that tasted ambrosial because it was made with my grandmother’s hands.

When lunch was nearly over, my granddad looked over at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, “Know what I’ve been really into lately?”

“What’s that, Granddad?” I was expecting him to glow about Fox News or Sudoku puzzles.

His eyes widened, and he broke into a huge grin before saying ice cream like a 5-year-old who’d just tried it for the very first time. “I’m on a diet, but I eat a little bowl every day after lunch as a treat. Ya want some?”

My aunt and I declined and took another helping of the kale salad she made. We ate our healthy greens while Granddad sat across the table from us, happy as a schoolboy with his dish of butter pecan. He’d brought out a second bowl just in case we changed our minds.

Finally, I snuck a tiny spoonful, and gave my grandfather a little wink.

He leaned in across the table, scrunched up his nose and giggled, “Idn’t it wonderful?”

Yes it was.

 

me and granddad

Jenn P.

30-something psychotherapist. Loves cooking, hosting parties, exploring new places. Texan by birth. New Yorker by choice. Likes to tell little stories. Pull up a chair; I'll tell you one.

  • Daina Ankrum
    What a beautiful story Jenn. You are right, I am head over heels for your grandpa. Make sure to photograph his man cave so you can always remember! I photographed my grandpa in his tool room over the summer, which he has been organizing and using since the 50′s.
    • http://muchtomydelight.com/ Jenn from much to my delight
      Thanks Daina. Granddads are the best. I’d love to see your photographs, and I love that you refer to your grandparents as G & G ( i do too:).
  • http://writemeg.com/ Meg
    Your grandpa is awesome! I love that his man cave is actually a scrapbook room where he goes to gaze upon his life . . . that is just beautiful. Ah, family. <3
    • http://muchtomydelight.com/ Jenn from much to my delight
      Yes, he’s a good’un (to use his terminology). :)
  • The Legal Shrimp
    This makes me want to fly down to see my Grandpa right now! Such a sweet story.
    • http://muchtomydelight.com/ Jenn from much to my delight
      Thanks Shrimp. Granddads are pretty special, right?
  • http://www.therandomwritings.com/ Rachel G
    That sounds like hands down the best man cave that has ever existed.
    • http://muchtomydelight.com/ Jenn from much to my delight
      It’s pretty awesome, Rachel. And it’s nothing my grandmother has to compete with:)
  • Shannon Kerns
    I do love your grandpa and reading this makes me miss mine so much! It’s been 12 years sincd he passed away and I still keep a picture of him on my desk at work. Such a special relationship, a grandpa and granddaughter have! I just stopped by to tell you I featured your blog in my post today. Keep doing what you ‘re doing! You write beautifully and have so much to offer us readers! Cheers,
    Shannon
    http://www.brasshoney.blogspot.com
    • http://muchtomydelight.com/ Jenn from much to my delight
      Much appreciated Shannon. Headed your way to check it out:).
  • Abby Heugel
    Yes, yes I do love your grandpa, and miss mine now even more. Even though I write about my grandma a lot, he died a decade ago and I never had the chance to share a lot of those stories. You brought me right back in a very different way, and I’m so happy you are able to have someone like him in your life–and vice versa ;)
    • http://muchtomydelight.com/ Jenn from much to my delight
      Thanks for the sweet comment, Abby. Grandparents fill a pretty unique niche in our lives. Hope the memories you do have of your granddad are lovely ones.