He would take me for rides to the post office and A&W root beer floats (a tradition that I only now realize was the driving force behind his yearly contributions to my ever-growing stamp collection).
He bought me my first watch.
He taught me how to fish.
He shared his love of dogs with me.
His favorite candy was "circus peanuts," though he could eat anything sweet.
He called me "punkin" and always listened when I talked about my life.
He didn't talk a lot.
He was usually a silent presence. Strong. Steady. Unless he had a joke to tell. Then he could laugh big bold laughs that would make everyone around him laugh. (He loved to catch people off guard by answering the phone with, "City morgue...you stab'em we slab'em," like it was a normal greeting.)
He saw things as a marine that would destroy lesser men. He saw things he never talked about. But he still found reasons to smile in this world. He was a marine through and through...
He was a husband and father...
He was my grandpa...
He was OUR grandpa...
After years of health problems Grandpa died peacefully in his sleep this morning. He joins his wife and two great-grandsons in death.
I hope that wherever he is, he knows how much we love him and how much we're going to miss him.