My grandpa passed away this week. It wasn't unexpected since he has been struggling in the hospital for the last few months. But the news has brought waves of sadness as well as happy memories as I grieve with my family.
The night we got the phone call from my parents, Brian and I joined my siblings in Seattle and Honolulu to honor Grandpa by toasting with a Ruby Red, his favorite drink. Brian and I reminisced memories of Grandpa while we drank:
- I loved the way he always came up and gave you a big side hug and said "Hey there, Big Sis" (or little Sis or Bud depending on which applied to you)
- He always made a point to go to coffee regularly with friends. I have always been impressed by how he maintained life long friendships despite being in the military. His friends Guy and Joy have been a part of his life since high school and kindergarten respectively
- I wish I had a tape recording of his laugh. It was similar to his mom's laugh and my uncle always teased that it was "The Robbins' Giggle," though I always that it was more of a chuckle.
- He loved his little log cabin in the woods and I'll always picture him there relaxing and enjoying his beverage in a foam cozy.
- In his den he had pictures of his airforce planes, and a stuffed cobra, and my brother and I would amuse ourselves by dumping all of his poker chips on the floor and putting them back in various patterns.
- The bathroom was always full of wordsearches and I learned his trick of getting a few minutes alone by taking extra long in the bathroom while enjoying a puzzle or two.
- He never gave up learning. During retirement he learned how to carve wood. He made a wooden chain for my mom out of one solid block of wood, all of the links connected!
- Grandpa was pretty quiet, but you knew if he got after you about something it was serious.
- Without fail he and my grandma would share a Ruby Red and vodka in the afternoon.
- He always had really corny jokes. Or at least I remember my mom saying that her corny jokes were things her dad always said.
- I loved that he came to our couple's baby shower even though it felt weird for men to be there. He even played my mom's shower games. In fact the Playdoh baby sculpture he made with his brother, Randy, won!
- I will always remember the last words I heard him say. When we took Magnolia to the hospital to see him, he took one look and said with pride, "She's beautiful." I think we would have loved her as much as he loved the rest of us.
If you read this and knew Gary, please feel free to add to our list by leaving a comment.