Farewell to a Great Man

Yesterday was my Granddad Bunn’s funeral. It was a hard day, much harder than I expected. My grandfather lived a good life. He lived for a little under 95 years and he had a plethora of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to remember him after he was gone. I am one of them and I know that I will always remember him.

rece aug 06 215Part of what made yesterday so challenging was that these days, my dad is completely heartbroken. It was never more apparent than yesterday. His father was pretty much his best friend around. I can’t imagine having one of the people I rely on to talk to, dream with, and occasionally argue with snatched from my life forever, left with only the memories.

It’s easier for me than it is for my dad. But that doesn’t mean it’s not hard or sad because it is. Most of my fondest memories of my grandfather are from when I was younger and he left me hang out and play on the family farm. I try to remember the stories because I was weeping too hard at the funeral to share. Here are a couple memories I’d like to share with all you readers.

I remember how my granddad used to tell me I was a good kid. I was proud of this and seriously thought I was the only one he told this to. I was proud of it. And then one day I was working at a factory with my cousin Heather. We were sitting at the break table together talking about the family and she mentioned Granddad and how nice it was when he told her the signature saying, “You’re a good kid.” The illusion of me being the favorite or the “goodest” grandkid was completely shattered.

There was a period of time when Granddad didn’t say those magic words to me. It happened after I returned from my first Peace Corps service. It’s because he saw my first tattoo. I was frustrated because not only did he stop saying that I was a good kid but he also mentioned the tattoos on my arms, curious why I would do that to myself. I still don’t know what got me into my few tattoos, but I think it has to do with the meaning and the fact that they remind me of who I am so I don’t forget.

My nose stud caused a similar response from Granddad Bunn. His eyesight was really bad so when he noticed it this past year, I had to mention to him that it had been in my nose since fall 2004. Yeah…

Last year, when my dad and I went out to chat with Granddad and he stopped us with one of his stories, I started to pace a bit. It was a story I’d heard before. But then he changed it up a bit and added the more recent additions and context. But the story ended with him complaining about how much a hot dog cost. Five bucks for a hot dog? Is it made of gold? No. It was a cheap hot dog, I mentioned. The good ones cost as least $8. I remember giving him a hard time about living in the now and not going back to ages past when a hot dog cost a nickel. But honestly, right now, I would love to hear him talk about how cheap food used to be in the old days or what his grade school teacher said about farming. I won’t be able to hear these though, so I’ve got to keep remembering.

Four generations of Bunns. (BTW - What is up with my dad's hair and glasses?!)

Four generations of Bunns. (BTW – What is up with my dad’s hair and glasses?!)

When we were really little, we’d hang out on the farm for fun. I think when Grandma didn’t have any cleaning for us to do or maybe she wanted to read, she’d send us out to Granddad to do some projects. The boys got to work for Granddad. We girls were pretty much the house workers. But on occasion, we’d get to do those projects. My favorite was collecting junk to put in a pile for Granddad to clean up. We’d get paid per piece. It was good money; Granddad always had a lot of junk. But when we started to get lazy and poach new piles of junk for new money, he put a stop to our business and sent us back to the house.

I think of this story every time I walk around the farm. It’s really a beautiful and sweet place. I just really wish I could go back and see my Granddad there.

<Sigh.>

Life cycles around. I’m sure one day, I’ll have a niece or (hopefully) a grandkid remembering me after I pass. I just hope that I will have blessed their lives as much as my Granddad blessed mine.

Tata for now.

Rece

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