Today, my dears, is a red-letter day. Some of you may remember how much I love my Granddad. He's the bee's knees, and today is his 81st birthday. Happy birthday, Granddad!
There are about a million things I really love about Granddad, and today I'm going to tell you about a few of them. Gotta leave 'em wanting more, as my mama always said. Wait. Did my mama always say that? It might have been somebody else, come to think of it. Well, whatever. Story still applies. Here's a little picture of Granddad and his Julie. Isn't Julie cute? I love Julie, too, just so you know.
They're sitting here on the tailgate of their pickup truck. Look inside. See all those crates and cleverly organized shelves and stuff? See the padding and carpet on the floor? Granddad and Julie go on long, long, LONG roadtrips, and rather than stay at hotels, they just pull into a KOA campground, lay out their blankies in the back of the truck, and go to sleep. That's right. They live out of a truck bed. How do you say "kick-ass" in every language in the world? They were my inspiration when, for my first job out of college I worked as a backpacking guide in Utah. I worked an 8-day-on-6-day-off schedule, so I didn't bother renting an apartment. I just tricked out my truck like my grandfather's, and took off to the four corners every chance I got. What a time, man. That was great, and I owe it all to my granddad, without whom I never would have thought to do that.
What else is cool about Granddad, you ask? Why, I'll be happy to tell you. First off, he's handy as hell. I think I got my handy-ness from him, too. Every time I call up there, he's over to the Home Depot or the Lowe's getting stuff for some home renovation (winter) or garden work (summer). And when he's not remodeling and fixing things up, he's tending to his beehives. Granddad, just like my dad, is a beekeeper. His honey would bring you to your knees, and the jams he and Julie make every summer are ambrosial. Granddad and Julie eat like kings.
But above all, I love two things about Granddad. First, I love what a trickster he is. Once a long time ago he bet my little sister Crasey $10 that she couldn't catch a fish in the ocean with her bare hands. Well, first of all, he should have known better than to bet Crasey anything. That kid is more stubborn than... I don't know. Than the most stubborn thing in the world? Anyway, Crasey spent all damn day splashing around in tidal pools, belly flopping on fishy-looking shadows, trying to hustle minnows up on shore. And don't you know it, after 5 or 6 hours (I told you she was stubborn), Crasey actually managed to catch a decent-sized little fish WITH HER BARE HANDS. So she's crazy excited, right? She holds this little fish up in her hand, squealing and bouncing around, screaming "Granddad, Granddad, I did it! I caught a fish with my bare hands!! Look look look!" And Granddad, without batting an eyelash, looked at Crasey, looked at the fish in her hand, and said, "Aw, you cheated."
In all fairness, that story is just as much about how cheap Granddad is (tighter than a bull's ass at fly time, as he'd say) than what a trickster he is, but like I said before, the story still applies. So let me tell you about the second thing I love most about Granddad. I love how much he loves his Julie. Peas and carrots, those two, and every time I start to get to feeling bad about being THIRTY AND SINGLE, and start wondering if my standards are too high, I look at them and think to myself, just relax, you've got time.
As Granddad tells me all the time, I'll know when it's right.
Happy birthday, you old fart. Keep rockin' out. I love you.