I am the 11th grandchild

Dad MaackMy mother’s father passed away last week. His funeral service is tomorrow. And while the obituary in the paper is certainly factual, it doesn’t capture my Grandpa Maack as he was to me. And though he was a crotchety globetrotter after his wife’s death, that’s not how I’m going to choose to remember his life. Here are a couple of the things that he was to me.

My Grandpa Maack was a Sleeping Multi-tasker

My family moved in with my mom’s folks for a time when we were between houses due to my father’s job. When you visit your grandparents, there’s a chance that you only see them on their best behavior. But when you live with them for a time, you see them as they really are, and my grandpa was a man with peculiar abilities.He would often watch television (Hee Haw) with the radio on (Southern Gospel music) while reading the paper, sleeping the whole time. But if you turned off the TV, he’d wake up and tell you that he was watching it. Likewise with the radio (“I was listening to that”) and the paper (“I was reading that”).

My Grandpa Maack was a Patient Man with an Iron Stomach

After we moved out of my grandparents’ house (after which we lived in their fifth-wheel camper for a time) and moved into ours, my grandparents sold their house and followed us to Middleville. It was a regular event for us to join them after church for a Sunday meal, but my brother and I were always a bit nervous of the fare.

My grandmother, you see, was not one of those “everything-they-bake-is-heaven-in-my-mouth” type of grandmas. She was a “‘it’s-not-black-it’s-just-brown’-while-smoke-billows-from-the-oven” type of grandmas.

Anyway, one Sunday afternoon, my family was joining them over roast beef with gravy when my mom noticed something strange about the gravy. It was bubbling. Gravy is not meant to bubble. It sometimes allowed to be lumpy, but never is it permitted to froth. My grandma decided that she must have accidentally used baking soda instead of cornstarch to thicken the gravy. Oops.

My grandpa’s reply? “Tastes fine to me.” And then he added some more to his beef.

I don’t think I ever saw him complain about anything (even if he had every reason).

And that’s how I’m going to remember him.


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