Monday, November 1, 2010

happy birthday, Grandpa!

My grandparents went to Hawaii for about a month every year for as long as I can remember, staying on different military bases, soaking in the sun and just plain visiting with people and enjoying the weather.  One year, when I was about nine, they took our entire family, quite the incredible gift.  And while I remember some things, memory lane has been aided by the new Hawaii 5-0 series.  Too bad smell-o-vision doesn't exist, because that's one of the most stuck memories in my mind to this day; sticking your face into a plumeria tree, and just inhaling.  I remember a few years later, probably about age 12, when Bath and Body Works became this big thing that all girls were supposed to like...and I saw the plumeria flavor and I was SO EXCITED.  Literally...I was so excited I could barely open the cap!  But when I did, I breathed deeply and was surprised by the most noxious awful fake smell.  And that's when I started avoiding Bath and Body Works.  They ruined me, at such a young age.  If you want to smell plumeria, you gotta go yourself.  And it's worth it.

And Pa?  This reminded me of you and grandma...and yes, made me cry.

from Story Corps, a nonprofit dedicated to helping Americans tell and preserve their stories.

This is something my grandfather championed, the idea of taking care of people, places, and history...the story of this country.  As a veteran and a patriot, he spoke out when an American flag went unlit at night.  As a dedicated outdoorsman, he spoke out when people decided to be rude and trash places in the community, especially campsites and parks.  And as himself, a storyteller and conversationalist, he'd be able to find some connection between himself and another person in less than five minutes, a feat I've never seen anyone replicate.

So, in honor of his 87th birthday, I gave a donation to the Trust for the National Mall in Washington, DC, recently home to the Rally to Restore Sanity.   I often wonder what my grandfather would have thought of Jon Stewart.  But I know that he would have agreed with the idea that shouting gets nothing done.  Listening, learning, helping out--those get things done.  Happy birthday, Pa!

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