June 4, 2007

So long, Grandpa Bob....

The clouds were heavenly, Sunday afternoon... when Grandpa Bob died. The clouds rarely ever look the way they did. Heavenly cumulous clouds streaked with black tears across their tops. And shortly after his passing, the clouds darkened and rained. It was a mercy, as his last weeks have been awful in every way. Home hospice was his final end... much better than some damn hospital. With seven children, there was one to volunteer for each day of the week.

Born in 1921, Grandpa Bob had a hard scrabble childhood in eastern Oregon, orphaned from a broken family. As a school boy in Vale, Oregon, he once helped sneak a cow up the stairs and into school on Halloween.

Bob came to Seattle to college to become a mechanical engineer. Nothing he liked more than building boilers. Copper pipe and electric cable and slide rules... that's what he liked. Boiler plate with rivets and practical things.

His work was also his very large and wonderful family... all still living nearby. I married his oldest daughter.

When they'd go camping, three of the kids had to sleep under the car since the tent wasn't big enough. With seven children and 10 grandkids, it takes two tables with extensions to fit everyone in at Thanksgiving and Christmas. His family was Bob's riches...

I know that Grandpa Bob's up in the Big Rock Candy Mountains today... cuz that's one of his favorite songs...

"In the Big Rock Candy Mountains there's a land that's fair and bright
Where the handouts grow on bushes and you sleep out every night
Where the boxcars are all empty and the sun shines every day
On the birds and the bees and the cigarette trees
Where the lemonade springs where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains"


ChatRabbit said...

John- so sorry about Grandpa Bob. It is so hard to lose the patriarch (or matriarch) of a big family. It seems to magnify the pain, even though it seems like it should help- I've been there.

What a great tribute to him, though- God bless!

(Cigarette trees? I don't remember that line!)

John Nez said...

Thanks... much appreciated.

I think the moral of this story is you're lucky if you can just drop dead instead of lingering on for months.

Checking out shouldn't be such a nearly impossible task, I'd like to think.

I'm not sure modern medicine is really any help in that regard. It's a pain either way....


John Nez said...

Thanks... now it's just the ordeal of the funeral. But a quick trip to the thrift store soon found just the right jackets to wear.

Yes... it has been awful. But then we're in the same canoe going over that same waterfall of mortality.

Time & memory... hopes & dreams...