Me, age 3 or so
My Grandad loved to tell stories that would get a rise out of you. When my favorite food was chicken and stars soup, he told me if I continued to eat it I would have stars coming out of my ears. I never touched the stuff again.
He hung little Gumby figures from the ceiling fan in the living room, where it would antagonize myself and my cousins, because we wanted to play with them but couldn't reach.
Even though Grandad told funny, teasing stories, he always made you feel special, and he brought the family alive with his stories. Because the stories were always geared towards, and about you. Hearing him talk about you in these humorous tall tales showed how fond he was of you, and you knew he cared. He thrived on making you laugh.
Even on our last visit when I was consumed with trying to keep my boys out of trouble, Grandad pulled out his arsenal of Butch tales - the pug that I had growing up. When I became allergic, Butch went to live with my grandparents, and I only got to see him when I visited. Grandad loved Butch as much as I did, if not more, and the 30 year running legend of Butch lived on through Grandad's words and laughter.
Grandad and I shared a love of the outdoors, camping, animals, teaching, spicy foods, and reading. He and I both adored the book Turpentine. I will miss his stories and his laughter, and his off-the-wall letters to my son Pierce.
Rest in peace, Grandad.