“I remember asking Grandpa one morning if I could taste his coffee. He said, “Oh, you don’t want to taste this nasty stuff. Besides, it will make your knees black.”
“I couldn’t figure out for many years why he laughed so hard when I asked him to show me his black knees.
“I was quite shy around Grandpa. I didn’t quite know how to take his teasing and so many times, I would cry. He loved to catch the hem of my dress with his foot as I would walk by. I would stop and he would say, ‘What are you waiting for? Why don’t you go?’ Protesting, I would say, ‘Grandpa, I can’t move. You have my dress.’ He would put his foot down and I would take a step and he would catch my dress again. This little game would continue until I would cry. (I am embarrassed that I was such a big, old bawl-baby!)
“The dearest memory I have of Grandpa was the last time he came to visit us, it Twin Falls, just a few months before he passed away.
“I could tell he was getting old and frail. I loved to sit close to him and hold his hand as he visited with Mother and my sisters. I don’t recall now how long he stayed, but before I was ready to let him go, he announced he was going to have to return home.
“I started to cry – begging him to stay a little longer. However, he insisted his ‘gypsy blood’ was calling and he had to get down the road.
“I proceeded to cry harder. I didn’t know what ‘gypsy blood’ was, but, I knew I did not like whatever it was. My crying and begging him to stay was futile.
“He then asked, ‘What can I do for you before I leave?’
“I was in the first grade and we lived across the street from the school. Each day I would watch parents bringing their children to school in their cars. I thought it would be so fun to have my mother drive me to school, instead of Eileen holding me by the hand, walking me up to the corner, crossing at the crosswalk, walking down the sidewalk, and taking me into my school room.
“Quickly, my tears dried up and without any thought or hesitation, I said, ‘Would you drive me to school?’
“Only an understanding, loving, kindhearted grandfather would agree to my simple request – and – without cracking a smile!
“Hi kissed my Mother and Eileen goodbye and then he opened the apartment door for me. Holding my hand, he escorted me out to the car, opened the door and gave me his hand as he helped me inside.
“I felt like a princess – he treated me so gallantly. Then, he started his famous Nash Coupe and drove up to the corner. He made a U-turn and drove me almost to the front door of Bickel School. He got out of the car, swung the door wide and, again, offered me his hand. I jumped out of the car, gave him a quick hug and kiss and then, bounded toward the school.
“I remember waving and watching his car pulling away from the curb and disappearing down the street, before going inside. That was the last time I saw him alive.
“There have been times in my life when I felt as though I could not move and I thought I could hear Grandpa say, ‘What are you waiting for? Why don’t you go?’ His words have given me the courage to face whatever may have stopped me, for the moment, and they gave me the faith to go on.”