I wrote this back in 2008 after my grandpa died. He was a serviceman in the US Navy during WWII. In the spirit of Memorial Day, I wanted to share this and remember him and his service, both to our country and to his family.
God bless you Norman Mosey.
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My grandpa always used to read the obituary section. He said that if he didn’t see his name there, he knew that he wasn’t dead. It was one of his little jokes.
He was full of little jokes.
When I would ask for a half glass of orange juice, he would ask which half I wanted filled.
“The top half,” I would reply, at which time he would fill my glass full. I always complained that I only wanted a half glass. It took me about twenty years to figure out that in order to fill the top half, the bottom half had to be filled first.
It didn’t take much to amuse him.
I spent a week with my grandparents during one summer vacation when I was eleven or twelve. I discovered that they didn’t do much, or at least, they didn’t do much of what I thought was fun at the time. But the week was not without its entertainment.
Without speaking a word, my grandpa invented a little game while lounging in the sun in his armchair. Sun filtered in through the window and was reflected by his watch onto various surfaces in the living room. I soon noticed that the reflected light was deliberately moving from item to item. From where I sat, I too could reflect the sunlight, and so our nameless game was born. It was a simple game of chasing his reflection around the room. It was possibly the most fun I had that week.
I guess it doesn’t take much to amuse me either.
I heard the story once of how my grandparents met. My grandpa was in the Navy. My grandmother and her sister took part in a morale-boosting program that wrote letters to servicemen. It was my grandmother’s sister who wrote to grandfather. What they said to each other, I’ll never know, but when my grandpa expressed a desire to meet, my shy grandmother’s sister sent my grandma in her stead. And the rest was history.
They had five children; two boys and three girls.
I heard my grandma asked once why he never said “I love you.”
“I told you when we got married,” he replied. “I’ll let to know if anything changes.”
He wasn’t a man who said what he felt.
By the time I met him, my grandpa only had nine and one third fingers. For the longest time, I assumed that the missing two-thirds of his tenth digit were victims of the Second World War. I asked him once if this was the case and he confirmed it.
A few years back, I found out the truth. He had accidentally pinched his finger in the door of a car and it was safer to amputate than deal with infection.
My grandpa wasn’t always honest, but he was always good for a smile.
He died today as he was clearing the snow from his driveway atop his tractor, “Big Johnny.” The tractor was in the road when a car came around the corner and cut the tractor in two and my grandpa into more pieces. The other driver walked away.
My grandparents were two days away from their sixty-second anniversary. I guess my grandpa never changed his mind about loving my grandma.
We won’t be able to play simple games anymore, or lie to each other about the scars that we bear. And soon his obituary will be in the newspaper and he won’t be there to read it.
Maybe that means that he’s not really dead.