I called my grandfather ,”GaGa,” because I couldn’t say, “Granddaddy” when I was a toddler.
GaGa was pretty proud of all of us. And he was proud of his service to his country. And he was staunchly conservative…he loved to talk about it, too (I kept my mouth shut or I knew I’d get in trouble). I loved him as fiercely as I believe he loved me!
When Nannie gave me their car a few weeks ago, the things in that were left in there were mostly things of his. There was his folding chair with bungee cords tied to it, that he took everywhere. There were some very old country music tapes. There was the afghan made by either my Nannie or my aunt, a blanket which had been in each of their cars since I was a little girl, I think. Or at least, I’ve known the blanket colors most of my life from somewhere.
My grandfather died nearly five years ago, but I still associate that car with being his car, so strongly that I got a hummingbird tag for it because he loved watching hummingbirds. He had feeders for them in the window off the den and off the porch, at home. It may sound strange, but driving that car feels a little bit like he’s still taking care of me the last ways he can, even though he’s no longer here. His folding chair will stay in the car, as will the afghan that’s been in their car for as long as I remember, made by either my aunt or Nannie. The country music had to go as did the stereo itself, as I needed a CD player. (Who knew that most stereos also come with usb ports these days?) The model year 2003 atlas that he took out of that car to give me when I started going back and forth to Iowa, made shabby by me from eight or so years of use, has found its way back to its original home between the front two seats.
I wasn’t shocked by any of the above stuff; I was shocked enough to be given the car itself.
But yesterday, as we got back in the car after church, I did get a shock. Jared started poking around the directional console, above us. Out popped these, from the sunglasses holder:
You know, the other things in the car just gave me vague feelings of nostalgia. His glasses, though…these he actually wore. I’d seen him wear them countless times.
I miss my grandfather terribly. I know was very, very proud of me and I know he was even more proud of Be-Bop. I moved back to Georgia in May of 2007 before GaGa died in August of 2007, and I am so thankful that I got to spend that time with him and that Be-Bop got to spend that time with him.
And I know that he would be very proud of Rock Steady, too, who I got pregnant with that October after he died. Rock Steady, who is like none of us personality-wise, we think the way his eyes are set looks an awful-lot like GaGa’s. His eyes are definitely Jared’s, but the top of his left eye kind of sags down a little in the middle, like GaGa’s:
Rock Steady knows who GaGa is, even if GaGa never got to know him. At Nannie’s yesterday, Rock Steady marched right up to a picture on the table and said, “That’s GaGa.”
I sure do miss him, as I know we all do.