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The “C” Stands for Careful see what’s in the icebox. Did I ever tell you about the boy who grabbed on to the bull’s tail and then was pulled all over the barnyard because he was afraid to let go?” I was on a vacation trip with my parents, brother and sister in the East when Grampa died in the summer of 1966. We had planned the trip to Gettysburg, Washington and New York for several months. Just before we were to leave, Grampa was scheduled to go into the hospital to have his cataracts removed. He hoped that he would be able to drive again if he could see better. (Grampa had refused to give up his Chevy BelAir. It was still just as pretty as the day he bought it. It had been his first brand new car. On the occasions when he drove it, he would not shift again once he got it into third gear. Gramma would tell him when the lights changed and he would slip the clutch in third gear until the car jerked ahead.) He assured us that the operation was routine and there was no reason to postpone our trip, and the doctor concurred. So, with Grampa in the hospital and a list of our destinations left with an aunt, we loaded the car and camp trailer and headed for Gettysburg to tour the Civil War battlefield. In the early evening of the second night, the owner of the campground drove up to our camper and told my Dad that there was a message to call his aunt. A bolt of fear ran through

I was 19 when my Grampa died. us and he and I went up to the camp office and called home. I could tell immediately from the look on Dad’s face that Grampa had died. There was a thick feeling in my throat and hollowness in my chest. The tears came at once. Grampa had died in the hospital from complications caused by his ulcers that were brought on by the aspirin he ate to dull the arthritis pain. We struck camp within an hour and I drove t hrough t he night, spelled brief ly by my mother, as we made the 700-mile trip back to Grand Rapids. Exhausted and sick with grief, I stretched out on my bed and cried. I remembered the recent Sunday afternoon when I had not gone to visit Grampa because, at 19, I was too old to sit in his living room 45

July 2013 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times July 2013