10) The fact that he called Happy Joe's pizza "Slappy Ho's." My brother and I aren't sure if he realized how sexual that sounded...or if he just got a kick out of it enough that he took the risk of us figuring it out. Probably the latter.
9) The Dukes of Hazard horn on his old, brown van. It played lots of songs, actually, be we liked that one best. This was before I fully understood the racist underpinning of the song's origins. But honestly, I don't care. It was awesome to pull into our driveway, have Grandpa honk the horn, and know that the Pylelo kids would hear it across the street.
8) When Grandpa and Grandma would come visit us in Sioux City, they would bring all their pop cans with them to redeem at the recycling center. Then Dirk and I would split the money he got back. Jackpot! Grandpa told us we could buy anything we wanted with it. I bought a Ken doll with mine one time.
7) They had this ugly old black dog puppet in their basement toy box. My cousin, Molly, and I would (oh so cleverly and sneakily) put the puppet on our arm and run up to "bite" his arm with the dog. He would carry on dramatically, as if in great pain from the bite. We thought it was so hilarious...looking back, it may be a miracle that we didn't turn out to be psychopaths. Whatev. It was good times, and he was sweet to indulge us. Every. Single. Time. We did it.
6) We used to stay at their house when we'd come to Hamilton county for a weekend. My brother and I used to HATE it when Grandpa would scrape his plate with his fork and knife. He would dig those utensils into the porcelain, making the most god-awful screeching noise, not far removed from nails on a chalkboard. Between that and ketchup on his fried eggs, meal times were an adventure for us. (Though Grandma gave us grape juice, which was a treat we did not get at home....that pretty much rocked.)
5) Keeping with the food theme, my parents rarely drink, but Dad and Grandpa would share a pitcher of beer when we went out for pizza together. Grandpa called it "barley pop," and claimed it was healthy for him. Who am I to question that logic?
4) When Molly and I were little, we went camping with Grandpa and Grandma in their RV. We stayed at a Cutty's resort and went miniature golfing. Then we went back to the RV and played cards till what seemed to be a very late hour. The next morning, Grandma made us blueberry pancakes for breakfast (there's the food theme again). Grandpa was great about having fun with a couple of silly little girls. One other time when our moms and Grandma were out shopping, Grandpa took Molly and me to Leon's pizza in Webster City. Just the three of us hanging out, having fun.
3) I spent the summer of 98 in France. When I returned to Iowa, I told Grandpa and Grandma all about it. Grandpa was excited to learn that I went to Aix en Provence, which is where he was stationed for awhile during WWII. He kept calling it Aix in Providence, and no matter how many times I corrected him, he kept saying it like that. I just gave up because ultimately it didn't matter. After that, we had several really great talks about his experiences in France during the war and he gave me some really nice photos and memorabilia from his Army days. I have always treasured those things, and will even more so now.
2) Grandpa often said the prayer during our family gatherings, and one thing he always said was, "Thank you for this food. Let it nourish us and give us strength for your intended juice." Or something like that. I never quite understood what that was meant to say. Juice seemed like a weird word choice. But it was familiar and comforting along with his voice, and I'll miss hearing it.
Spazz Alert: My pal, Sara, pointed out that I'm a bad listener. He was saying USE, not juice. I confirmed with my mom, who got a nice chuckle out of it. She said it's too bad Grandpa never knew that's how I heard it. He'd think it was pretty darned funny. So, Grandpa, if you have Internet access in heaven, go ahead and have your little laugh!
1) Grandpa started emailing about five or six years ago. He took to it surprisingly fast, and in fact was not fearful ENOUGH of the technology, leading to some issues over the years. Anyway, he sent any and all email forwards that crossed his inbox. Sometimes it would drive me crazy that he sent all those weird, wacky, nutty things. But now I won't see them anymore, and that makes me sad. I'll kind of miss rolling my eyes and saying, "Oh, geez, Grandpa."
I am so lucky and grateful that I had my grandpa in my life for 31 years. Not everyone is so lucky. So to my grandpa, I say goodbye, but I'll never forget these and a billion other little things that I got to share with you while you were in my life. I love you!