Might as well go broke here as down the road
My grandfather (“Papa” as we called him) would have been 85 years old last Tuesday. My mom retold me some of her favorite stories, and I did my best to remember the short time I got to spend with him. It’s remarkable that he’s my biggest hero, and yet I have to close my eyes and focus just to remember what his voice sounds like.
All the discussion reminded me of a sketch I was working on in the fall. I had been dog-sitting at my cousins’ house, where this incredible photo of my grandfather loading a gun on the USS Durant hangs in my uncle’s closet. I carefully pulled it out of the frame, scanned it, and emailed it to myself. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it yet, but I desperately wanted a copy. Eventually I decided to redraw it, to put a little more effort into it besides pushing the “Print” button. Given the option, I’d choose life drawing over recreating a photograph. However, my grandfather died over fifteen years ago, so my options were limited.
The man is one of my biggest inspirations. His character, his flaws, his personality, his sense of humor - I’ve learned a lot from him. He’s the epitome of honest, hard work in my book, and no one comes closer to being true to themselves. He couldn’t help it. Of course, that had a tendency to give my grandmother a headache or two, but still, he was honest. And Lord knows the man had a saying for everything. Hopefully I caught a fair share of his good genes. He certainly gave my brothers and me the tall and skinny ones.
So, happy birthday Papa. I’m sure you and Granny are being badasses somewhere in heaven right now.