The fourth of July has always been a double holiday in our family. My grandfather was born on the fourth of July, so until he passed away in 2002 the fourth was always doubly joyous. I've written about my grandfather here before, and I'm sure I'll write about him many times after this. He and my grandmother have been so incredibly important in my life.
Weren't they gorgeous? I remember looking at this picture when I was growing up and thinking that they both could've been movie stars. Their beauty was overwhelming every time I looked at it. They look so perfect in this picture. People who didn't know them might think they lived in one of those houses with impeccable everything. A look-but-don't-touch house with a froofy girly dog and a four-car garage. In truth they were farmers for most of their lives. They lived on a farm road in a quaint house that I spent most of my youth in. My love of wide open space and Texas sunsets grew out of my time at their home. My grandmother was an avid flower gardener and rock collector and my grandfather was an avid vegetable gardener and talker. My grandmother was steely with a wicked grin and mischievous eyes. My grandfather was a kind, tortured soul whose actions never left me wondering if I was loved.
Today leaves me reflecting on past holidays. The whole family would get together and we'd have a birthday dinner and fireworks. They had a huge german shepherd/doberman mix named BG. He was terrified of fireworks, so my grandfather would feel sorry for him and let him in the house to sleep under the dining room table. When we were done with fireworks we'd sit around the table and talk until all hours. That was unusual since my grandfather usually went to bed around 7:00 or 7:30 to lay in bed and listen to baseball.
I miss the little things about both of them, but about him...the smell of his pipe, long talks about nothing, poker and Candyland, Big Red at the service station, the way he called me honey, overalls, really old country music, "Graciouuuuuus."
It's almost three years since he's been gone, and I laugh through tears thinking of him.