Tribute to Grandfather
Grandfather; that’s what I always called him. To others, it may seem strangely formal, but to me, it’s a name that fit one of the greatest men I’ve ever known. Today, I shall pay tribute to him, for it is his birthday.
When I was born, I had only 2 living, biological grandparents – my dad’s mom, and my mom’s dad. Unfortunately, Dad’s mom, Grandma Trudy, died the night before the my second birthday, so I don’t remember much of her. The grandparent I grew close to was Grandfather.
As a child, my favorite place to go was Grandfather’s house. We would spend the afternoons playing black jack and rummy, and he taught me how to shuffle cards “properly.” His garage refrigerator was always stocked full of canned Pepsi, and he had fresh watermelon all summer long. To this day, I prefer Pepsi from the can, and the smell of fresh watermelon takes me back to Thompson Street, with him.
Before I acquired a taste for watermelon, I would only eat the black seeds, that most people pick out. He would tell me that the seeds were going to plant roots in my tummy, and I would start growing watermelons, but it never stopped me from eating them.
Grandfather also collected bicentennial quarters. If I ever come across one, I refuse to spend it. At this moment, I have one in my wallet, and whenever I reach for some change, I find it and think of him.
I can remember the last time I spoke with Grandfather. I was a sophomore, in High School, and he had been sick for quite a while. It was the day that he moved from Loftland Rehabilitation Center, in Seaford, Delaware, to Mallard Bay Nursing Home, in Cambridge, Maryland. He had promised to come to one of my field hockey games, to watch me play, but there were bad storms headed our way, and my game was cancelled. I called my aunt’s cell phone to let them know that it would have to be a different day. I remember him talking to his roommate, about me, as I was telling my aunt about the cancellation; he told his roommate that his granddaughter “was built like a brick sh!t house.” (I still don’t see how that it a compliment, but I was assured that it was.) Unfortunately, he never made it to watch one of my games, because he died that Saturday night.
This September will make 9 years that he’s been gone, but I still think of him often. Sometimes I sing “The Ford Song” to Annabelle, just like he sang it to me, when I was a little girl. I wish that my kids could have met Grandfather; I’m sure they would have loved him just as much as I do. He was truly a wonderful man.
Happy Birthday, Reginald Carlton Tindall. You were a remarkable man and you are missed. I love you.