Monday, 30 July 2012

I was recently given an old hat my grandfather wore when fishing. It's not the one I remember him wearing, but I'm glad to have it. I also have his pocket knife, and a bible. The pocket knife especially is important to me, as it's one he probably took while we went fishing.

I remember him teaching me (very patiently) to tie a fishing knot, how to cast, how to tell one fish from another, and how to clean the fish. I don't remember a lot of what he actually taught me, but I remember him patiently teaching me. Taking the time to help dissect the fish, explain why the fish's heart was still beating after we were done, and walking along the shore as I tried in vane to catch a fish with my hands when they weren't biting.

I also remember him teaching me about electricity - about positive and return wires, and how ground worked, and about radio waves. Again - a lot of it was lost on someone as young as I was, but I remember how cool it was to be learning, and I remember him teaching me. I saw the greenboard and soldering iron he used to build his radio boards, and sat through the explanation on how transistors worked, why they were different than tubes, and how the color coding worked. He had a 40 foot radio tower in the back yard and he talked to people all over the world - it was facebook back when you had to be hardcore to use it.

I also remember him patiently explaining all of his medals to me time and again, every time I asked. I don't remember what they were, but I remember him telling me. I also remember the shrapnel he had pinned to the same board that had almost killed him, from a blast that killed some of his friends and bunkmates. He was a war hero, but he kept that, carefully mounted and framed, buried in the bottom right hand drawer of an old desk in his radio room.

The first thing in my life I remember taking apart and fixing for a reason other than curiosity was a doorknob. My Grandmother asked me to look at it because my Grandfather had been working on it all day and it was still broke. I took it apart and fixed it - my Grandfather was stunned, and seemed very proud of me. I was too young to know what alzheimer's disease was, but it was stealing him from me before I knew how much he meant to me.

I will number the hat, the knife, and the bible among my small treasures more important to me than just things. And they will be passed to my children with all the knowledge I can provide about the Great Grandfather who taught me to fish, patiently answered questions, and read to me whenever I asked.

I miss my Grandfather. I wish I'd realized who he was when I had the chance.

1 comment:

  1. I think of my sweet, little, Italian grandma often and wish I could still spend the day with her gardening, canning, and cooking.


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