In this blog series, letters I am writing to people who have changed my life for the better in their own unique way. Thanks for joining with me.
Dear Grandpa Jim,
Since I wrote a letter to my grandma two weeks ago, I think it's only appropriate that this one comes today (even if you are on the other side of my family). To you, the words don't always flow as naturally and easily to my mind. It's not because I loved you less or knew you for a shorter time - in fact, you were around through most of my high school years.
No, it's because of who you were that changes how I write to you now. You were always quiet and reserved and, if I'm evaluating it correctly, a little shy. You were never a big talker and what you did say, you kept short and sweet and to the point. You were always happy to sit around and soak in the conversation, even if you weren't a major participant.
I'll never forget your wry sense of humor, or the way you would make jokes that would hang in the air for a minute or two before the rest of the audience finally realized what you had said. I'll never forget the time when I got my big brother in trouble with you - and when you found out I had lied, instead of punishing me you just gave him a treat instead. That always stuck with me, and to this day I remember you any time I'm tempted to tell a lie or a half-truth.
You may not have been much of a talker, but you showed your love in a big hug and a smile when we saw you, or a trip to the ice cream shop before dinner when nobody else would take us. I still remember riding in the car, chatting away with my siblings while you drove quietly and smiled at the very silly things we were probably saying to each other. I didn't mind it when you didn't talk - I just wanted to be with you.
I remember at my high school graduation, having a moment when I realized that you and Grandma Relli wouldn't see me walk across the stage. I think I knew how proud you would have been. You would have patted me on the head afterwards and said, "Great job, kid." And I know you would have taken me out to ice cream after lunch.
I miss you now, but I have fond memories to look back on. I respect your character, and I wish every day I could talk to you about how to run a business, because you were simply the best at that. Until then, I'll remember you the next time I spoil my dinner with ice cream and smile knowing that you're still proud of me.