Skinnydipping in the Rock

“C’mon, Jeanie,” Grandpa would holler from his post at the dining room table with popcorn, beer, and a salt shaker in his left breast pocket. “Let’s go skinny dipping in the Rock River.”

And Grandma would swat his words away with crochet hook in hand, “Dang it, Ed. Leave me alone. I’m trying to watch my show,” she would say, not looking away from the tv and her multi-colored double crochet afghan.

He was always coming up with crazy ideas just to get my grandma going. “Let’s go dancing,” or “Me and Tiny (the dog) are going bear hunting.” It was his entertainment, just to get her going. On average this was a weekly occurrence, to tease and torment my grandma. And I know she secretly loved it. It was their little game they would play.

But today, Grandpa is not going bear hunting or badgering my grandma. He hasn’t had his beer belly in a long time, which he was so proud of  for so long- lotta hard work, ya know.  He is laying in a hospital bed, frail and skinny. But that love is still there. ( Man, he loved  Grandma so much, still crazy in love after all those years).

“That’s not the way he combs his hair,” grandma says. She holds onto the bed and scoots her way to her big straw summery purse, the one with palm trees and seahorses beaded onto the side of it. She digs into the bottom of her big bag  and pulls out a tattered hair brush and combs my grandpa’s silver hair how he usually wears it. “Look at his hair. It is so pretty and thick.”

He was there with us, kind of.

My grandma leaned over his bed, “Eddie. Eddie! It’s Jean. I’m going home now. I’m really tired and need to rest. I know how you always tell me to put my feet up, so that is what I’m gonna do. I’ll be back tomorrow,” she would pause and look at him for some response. Nothing. She repeated herself and rambled on, telling him what she was going to do when she got home and when she would be back. 

She bent down and kissed him on the forehead. “I love you,” she said.  It was like he came to life with that kiss and gave her the biggest smile out of his drugged state. This really touched me and I just about started bawling. I really hope that when I am old I have somebody there to brush my hair and still get excited about a kiss. I hope to share all those years and memories.

He is no longer with us now and I really miss him.

I am thankful for all the great memories and times we spent together.

His green Ford pickup truck that he would use to haul water. In sticker letters he put “Eddie” on the driver side and “Jeanie” on the passenger side. And I can’t forget “Giddy Up and Go” also stuck onto his truck.

I remember his truck driving stories, he drove an eighteen wheeler, you know. His WWII stories. And of course, I can’t forget one of my favorites, the story about the man who got stuck to his toilet seat for days because he shellacked it and had to take a crap before it was dry. (I heard this story many many times with lots of details. lol).

I remember the time he insisted on getting their new car, the Dodge Spirit, to 110 mph because you had to test it out, my Grandma yelling at him, the spilt bucket of fried chicken (my grandpa LOVED fried chicken), and Jessica and Ryan having a great time, egging him on. “You’re almost to the red, Grandpa!” I sat tightly clutching the edge of the seat, terrified. Oh, the good ol’ days. There are so many fun memories.

He will be missed.

Love you Grandpa.


p.s. Hope you get to meet John Wayne in Heaven.