Wednesday, July 22, 2015

...That's a Wrap

From left to right: Grandpa Van Vorhis, my dad holding me,
and my great-grandfather, "Cap."
My apologies for not posting on my blog early Wednesday morning, as I have worked very hard to make my habit. I had good intentions, but I got a text.

The text came from my mom, consisting of three single-syllable words: "Please call me." This text felt different. There was no "love you," or "miss you," or "found a shirt you would like." This text carried weight. Deep down, I knew what that weight was.

So I called her right away, keeping my concern low, not ready to tip my hand that I knew what was coming. Being a pessimist sucks. My church calls it "the gift of prophecy." I call it the opportunity to say "I knew it," or "I told you so." Suffice it to say that I was having a less-than-stellar Tuesday, and I knew that whatever mom had to say was going to make it worse.

I knew it.

"They called 911 for your grandpa this morning and now he's unresponsive. He's dying. This is it."

I knew it.

We went through the process of where is he, should I come up, what do you need me to do, and keep me informed. This was around 5:45 in the afternoon.

At 8:15 p.m., while at work, I got a text from mom that said "Grandpa is gone."

Grandpa and Grandma sorting mushrooms in their kitchen
sometime in the 1980s.
I know that people are going to freak out that my mom sent a text to tell me the news. Spare me the vitriol. It was a planned communication since I had to be at work.

Grandpa died at age 94. He joins Grandma, wo died Feb. 10, 2011 at age 87

I think we all have regrets in life. I have regrets concerning Grandpa. I could have spent more time with him, tried harder, made an effort to figure out some things that it was never my responsibility...or my right...to poke my nose into or try to make sense of. I totally ended that sentence with a preposition, and I refuse to change it.

Grandpa was a woodworker. It was his hobby. He made me everything from a simple pair of drum sticks to items as cool as a toy box shaped like a barn, a magazine rack, and a wooden step stool with feet that flip up for storage. I still have all of those pieces. Everything he did was intricate. He saw a picture of a coffee table in a magazine and sent in for the instructions. I remember when he made it, over a period of months, and yet it still feels like that coffee table has been around forever.

I talked about my grandparents in my June 5, 2011 post, Memorial Day....more that military for me. I also talked about them in my Jan. 10, 2012 post, Family Traditions: Times They Are a-changin'.

A few memories before I go:
  • I vaguely remember getting my barn-shaped toy box. 
  • I remember Grandma and Grandpa coming to baseball games.
  • I remember Grandpa, while still wearing his hat and maybe even his coat, laid down on the kitchen floor with me and helped me figure out how to put together a Matchbox race track. I have a picture of he and I lying on the floor sitting around somewhere. I wish I could find it.
  • I remember eating out for my 16th birthday at Bombay Bicycle Club in Toledo.
  • I remember Grandma and Grandpa taking me to bingo day somewhere. I don't know where it was. I just remember that it was fun.
Like every good film, every wonderful life must come to an end. I hope you can understand why I missed my early Wednesday regular post.

Grandma and Grandpa in their living room long ago.

Grandpa Cap, my grandfather, and his brother, Floyd.