If you read through the history of this blog my feelings for my grandfather have been down and up. Even though in some of my old blogs I said how I didn’t think my grandpa liked me very much I never bothered to mention that even given that I still held him in a high level of respect for the person he is. I know he has his flaws, everyone does. I also know that he hates my father and resents my mother, at least at some level, for marrying him. I’m also pretty sure that resentment flows down onto my sister and myself at least some degree. I know my sister and I where treated differently than the other grandkids and that my cousins really did get more from him. I remember one Christmas where everyone got a card with some cash in it for their gift with the exception of me, who got a “Merry Christmas” when it was noticed I was in the room. I have many more stories like that I could go into, but I don’t want to.
Why? Because they do not matter. They never did. Even given all the bullshit I had to go through with him, I always loved and respected him. He is a hard worker and lives his life the way he wants to. Hell the man joined the Navy in 1938 when he was 14 and served until he retired. I used to go over there to spend the night as a kid and it would turn into a full day of working in the garden, or in the garage or some other manual labor act that I had to do. Yeah, it sucked but that was Lefty. If you went over there you KNEW you where getting to work. Sometimes he would pay me, sometimes he wouldn’t. Honestly I didn’t care, I hated the work but I always had fun over there. I was always a little sore when I left and maybe a little bitter, but it’s what I expected when I went over so I knew what I was getting into.
We didn’t always just work work work. I remember in 1993 when I was 11 “Robin Hood Men in Tights” came out and Grandpa Lefty took me to go see it. He absolutely hated it but still bought me popcorn and soda for the movie. It’s something small but that day I remember like it was yesterday. Close to his house is a little convenience store that he would often send me to to get little things like milk or the paper or something. He would often give me a $20 bill and allow me to buy something for myself, which often amounted to a candy bar or something since I was a fat food hungry kid (who am I kidding, I still am!) but I remember this one time I got brave and spent the WHOLE $20 and bought myself a box of Pinnacle Baseball cards without asking him. I remember he was so pissed off at me that I did that and spent all the money he made me move a bunch of sticks in his yard for over an hour before he brought me in and gave me the cards. At the time I was very upset about this and thought it was completely unfair that I had to do a bunch of work. Looking back it was just him being him. I had not earned those cards and if I wanted them I had to work for them. He didn’t tell it to me that way, but that’s exactly what he was doing. Nothing is free and hard work will get you the things you want.
We used to play poker and black jack when I was a kid over there. Grandpa Lefty would supply the change we would use as poker chips and I we would supply the players. We played all the time and Grandpa Lefty hardly ever won (whether that was on purpose or he was a bad player I’m not sure, but I assume on purpose). And we (the grandkids) would always get so excited because we would win $10 – $20 in change and we would think we would be able to take that home and spend it. We where always wrong. All the change ALWAYS went back into the jar to play with next time. Every time we would get disappointed, but every time we would play again the next time. For some reason we always thought that the next time would be different, that time we would be able to keep it. We where always wrong.
Grandpa Lefty has taught me so much, and continues to teach me today. Him and my father may not have ever gotten along for who knows what reason, but I don’t really care about that. I care about the fact that this man is my Grandpa and he really has been good to me, in his own way, since I was a child. He may have played favorites, as did the rest of the family, when we where growing up and after my Grandma died I may have gone from the favorite to the bottom of the pile, but when it counts he was just the Grandpa I wanted and needed.