little monkey.

When my mom went back to teaching, my brother and I would stay at my grandparents’ house after school. Grandma would have a snack and the comics page of the paper ready for me. We would play in the carport or ride bikes and then do homework. I read the books on the shelves and every page of each month’s Reader’s Digest. And I waited for Grandpa to get home so we could play cards.

Grandpa and I played gin rummy and double solitaire, and though I had learned alternate rules, he was having none of it. We would play by his rules, and that was that. As he dealt cards over the kitchen table, we became buddies. I told him about school and he took me for walks. We had a long-standing joke about monkeys to the point that, on my wedding day, he said, “You don’t look like a monkey today.” We greeted each other by saying, “Are you causing trouble?” His answer was always yes, because he takes after me.

My other grandfather died before I was born, so Grandpa is the only grandfather I’ve ever had. I think I needed him more, somehow, and I got more time with him after his retirement than many of my cousins, since we lived only 10 minutes away.

Today would have been my grandpa’s 86th birthday. He passed away on Monday after 12 years of declining health. Part of me will always be his little monkey.

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7 Comments

  1. hmbalison

    I’m so sorry for your loss of your beloved grandfather.

    My grandfather, Boppa, has been gone now for over 18 years, but I still think of him so often as I go about my days. I find that the missing doesn’t go away. And on hard days, I really yearn the unconditional love of a grandparent even though I’m almost 50.

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful words.

    Posted 9/26/2012 at | Permalink
  2. hmbalison

    I meant to write “yearn for”

    Posted 9/26/2012 at | Permalink
  3. Sharon Miles

    Such a nice tribute to such a special person.

    Posted 9/26/2012 at | Permalink
  4. Janice Kirkman

    Your family is in our prayers. Hugs to you. Thank you for such a beautiful tribute!

    Posted 9/26/2012 at | Permalink
  5. I was the first grandchild on my mom’s side of the family. When I was born, my mom and I lived with my grandparents in Korea for a bit, because my dad was overseas. I’ve been told countless times of how my grandpa would strap me onto his back every morning and evening and take me on walks, saying, “The baby needs fresh air.” We moved to Africa when I was 22 months old. Every time we would visit Korea, my grandpa would take me — just me — to the zoo, to get ice cream, and on other special outings. My mom always said I was his favorite.

    My grandpa died almost two years ago, a month and a half before my son was born. It was one of the greatest heartbreaks of my life that I missed out on introducing my baby to him.

    Thanks for sharing your memories, Kari. Mercies for your family in this season of remembrance and mourning.

    Posted 9/26/2012 at | Permalink
  6. Nancy

    I always appreciate your posts. Many are thought provoking. Some are funny. I often just appreciate your sharing your life and thoughts with us. Today you made me teary. You had such a special relationship with Grandpa. On Monday, Grandma made a point of showing me the monkey that was still on his bed. That monkey was the one thing that he kept with him throughout his illness. I’m sure it reminded him of you in some unconscious if not conscious way. I appreciate what he meant to you and appreciate very much what you meant to him.
    And, yes, we all played by his rules!

    Posted 9/26/2012 at | Permalink
  7. Mark Allman

    I am sorry for your loss.

    Posted 9/27/2012 at | Permalink

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