My Grandpa –

December 17, 2009 at 1:25 AM | Posted in Sonya | Leave a comment
Tags: ,

My grandfather is a man like no other: this week he moved into in respite care.  He could hold a fish in his hand and tell you exactly what it weighs. His sense of humor is tremendous, and if you didn’t see it first hand, you feel it through the wit and humor of his family.

Summer 2009 on Albian Court

Hands down, my Grandma Jackie has always been my favorite person. Together they raised five of the most unique and outstanding people I know. Their house has always been FULL.  Full of people, food, laughter and stories. Mostly, their homes have always been full of Grandpa.

Ray Keith was born in Texas as a twin. He was the custodian of the middle school across the street from their house in Morgan Hill – and as long as I can remember he has been walking a small dog around his neighborhoods.

Like me, Grandpa talks to strangers. He used to take me car shopping just so we could talk to the sales men on the lot because he knew they had to talk to us.

For a while, when I was a kid and long distance calls were done on the land line and cost a lot of money – Pa and I would annoy my parents with our routine where I had to tell him that he was “purty”. After we saw The Apple Dumpling gang together and would quote the lines to each other – long distance- I think we were in danger of being grounded from talking to each other on the phone permanently. The last time I saw him was Thanksgiving weekend, and I told the nurse to tell him he was pretty. She said he was handsome and he smiled, when she said he was pretty – he flexed and posed for her.
Grandpa was a child of the depression and held fast to every penny unless you sent him to the dollar store or offered him the chance to buy a lottery ticket. (Grandpa learned the hard way that I take pictures of absolutely everything).

Grandpa was a big fan of getting right up in your personal business and telling you what choices to make – and that is quite the experience. Especially alarming was the early holiday morning when this old cowboy put his arm around me in his kitchen and very seriously asked “Are you getting any?” (I assured him that I was having so much sex that I spent my free time as a prostitute. Oddly, this seemed to placate him).
More memorable than all the ways Grandpa told you about your life, is the way he spoke about his children. I can’t think about him without thinking of my Aunt Debbie. “That’s one fine woman there Gale is.” ‘You had to be in a really comfortable spot when he started talking about her because his mantra of praise for her was long and substantive.
Of course he would also tell everyone that would listen that my Dad has the weight of the world on his shoulders and without Dad the family – and possibly life as we know it – would collapse.

His other sons, he’ll tell you are sweet, caring, smart, and all combined there isn’t anything they could not do.

But to really appreciate my Grandfather, you have to be a granddaughter. he does this thing where he tells each of us that we are his favorite. We don’t see each other all that often (except on Facebook) so this was a fairly safe ruse for him. I am still not sure who gave him up and got him in trouble , he probably said something in front of two or more of us. Grandpa is a good sport with his girls, we were allowed to color his hair (I DIDN’T DO THAT TO HIM!) do his toes,  and he laughed off being scared by mannequin heads, and could be talked into buying fishing bait and letting me rub my fingers in the dirt so I could lie and say I dug the worms up myself.

Grandpa could fill up a room and fill a person up with frustration and affection all at the same time. He spoke his mind and his heart and proudly declared his lifelong love of my Grandmother. and he is in hospice dying. the world will a quieter place without him.


Create a free website or blog at
Entries and comments feeds.

%d bloggers like this: