Tonight Cullen and I fly to Minnesota.
We are going to visit my grandfather so he can meet Cullen for the first time. But it is not for a reason you want to go home. We are going because my grandpa’s health is quickly declining, and he doesn’t have much longer to live.
Of course I am excited to go to see my family and be back in Minnesota but not for these circumstances.
Grandpa and Grandma in the middle back row.
Grandpa is 94 years old and has lived a good, honest life. He, like my father, was a farmer and still does everything he can to help out. Nothing could stop this hard-working man who had a smile and story for everyone.
There’s the story of him riding his horse to school and his horse would then walk back home on its own. And the story of him helping his teacher get firewood so their one-room school could stay warm during the school day. Stories of him surviving the depression and ones of how he met my grandma. Sometimes the stories were repeated, but I still continue to hear new ones.
This set of grandparents lived on the same farmstead as we did growing up. Their house was literally a hop, skip, and a jump away. I used to go over to their house daily and enter without knocking as if it were my own home. Grandma always had treats to offer and Grandpa always had a story to tell. I went to their house when I was mad at my parents or just wanted someone to talk to.
The one memory I have of my grandpa growing up makes me chuckle now. I vividly remember Grandpa requesting to have Noxema (Yes, the facial cleanser you used in grade school–or at least I did.) rubbed on his face. Grandpa would recline back in his chair, with his eyes closed, and I would rub the cold creamy facial cleanser on the smooth skin of his face. But it was his prickly stubble that always felt scratchy on my fingers and felt ticklish. I would then carefully wipe off the cleanser, and Grandpa would smile and thank me for the facial. Like I said, it makes me laugh now because it seems a little odd for a Grandpa to request, but he loved it.