This was the talk I gave about my Grandpa Dave on August 1st, 2016. And yes, the preacher did ask the crowd afterward if anyone had any ivory soap with them to wash my mouth out. If there’s one thing my grandpa taught me, it was to always tell it like it is, and I wrote this in honor of him and that passionate way to live life.
As many of you here know, my grandparents started dating in high school. One of my favorite stories is how, at the beginning of their courtship they would end up at the Dairy Queen; on the first date my grandma ordered a strawberry shortcake and because she was so bashful, she ended up having him order the same thing for her over and over, date after date, because she didn’t want him to know that she didn’t really like their strawberry shortcake all that much.
But. She liked him, and he was a good one to like.
They were married the day after Christmas in 1960 and have been together ever since. For me, they were a shining example of love that endures, love that survives through the thick and thin, the good and bad; a love that was real, true, even if at times there were struggles, they were always there for each other and for their children. They had four lovely, generous, and outspoken kids, 2 even named after hollywood celebrities, Rick (after Ricky Nelson), Sandy, my mother (after Sandra Dee), and then Tom aka “Spook,” and Bob. They loved good music and my grandfather never shied away from belting a tune or two out loud at any random moment.
Grandpa Dave was at his best when he was at home, spending time outside on the patio, the long nights with the bug zapper and the laughing and chatting; grilling, drinking beer and bellowing out those old tunes.
Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket/never let it fade away…
Blue moon/you saw me standing alone/without a dream in my heart/without a love of my own
Charlie Brown — Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?– you know Charlie Brown right?) he’d say.
I was to him, Krystal Leanie the Big Fat Green Beanie to which I would also yell back, “Grandpa! I’m NOT fat and I’m not a green bean!!”
All the grandchildren learned quickly to hide their knees when in his presence or he’d “show us how a crow lights,” by pressing on the pressure points that make the leg jump.
When we were really young we’d all climb up on top of him while he laid on the couch and try to take over his tv remote, which only worked for a short period of time before it was back on a baseball, or basketball, or football, or the worst of all, golf. He was an avid sports fan, dedicated to The Royals, The Chiefs and KU no matter if it was a winning or losing season. He himself played on a winning softball team. He also coached his kids on winning sports teams. And when my mom started coaching me, he’d come to all the games and cheer me on, very loudly, often expressing his opinions of the situation to the umpire.
He was a stickler for routine. Every morning he’d drink his Folgers and finish a crossword puzzle and we’d often find him listening to sports radio, many of us trying hard to turn that shit off.
He was at his worst on the road. Anyone who has everyone gotten into a vehicle with him knows what I’m talking about. To me, it was an adventure. I could tell other people were nervous, but I was always excited, ready to go fast, waiting for the next new cuss word I’d learn. “These damn farmers,” and “What? Are we in a fucking parade here?” were his top phrases, and to say that didn’t rub off on me would be a complete and total lie.
And that might be the most beautiful thing about grandpa Dave. He was not a bullshiter. He was bold and stubborn and always had an opinion to share even if it was sometimes a bit shall we say, off color, or about killing those worthless cats, though it was usually about politics or sports teams and certain players lack of skill.
It’s taken me years to admit that I am actually a less-than-average driver and when I sort of kind of ran into a menu sign at the Sonic while driving his truck to work one day, both my uncle Bob and my grandpa were the calmest I’ve ever seen them about someone in the family doing something really ridiculously stupid. I thought he’d kill me, but he was just glad I wasn’t hurt. And that’s the thing, deep down he was the sweetest, most loving, gentle soul, which is perhaps why sometimes he came across as the opposite–he didn’t want to give that secret away. Anyone close to him though, knew better. Not very many men baby-talk their dogs or let their grandchildren ride them like a horse through the house.
He lived in Greeley his entire life, and worked for 32 Years at GM, many of you know him best from the Greeley Quick Shop aka the liquor store where he’d greet everyone with a big “how you doing today?,” and shoot the shit with anyone who had the time.
He was far from perfect, but who isn’t? There were things he liked and things he didn’t like and he’d always tell you which one was which. Regardless of which side you were on in those discussion, they were always lively; and his honesty and sincerity were two of his most admirable traits.
He will be greatly missed in the community, by his friends, and within our family.
I will say, that to this day, whenever I hear someone loudly sneeze three times in a row, I wait for the echoing GOD Damn It!!! I know I will never hear it again, but that God Damn It spirit will live on forever.