Fond Memories

I have incredibly fond memories of my dad‘s dad. Upon first meeting him, many simply saw a grumpy old man. What I learned was that he was a man who loved to argue and was desperately in search of someone who would engage with him.

Grandma and Pa and little Tammy
I guess in this picture he doesn’t look so gruff … and he was only about a decade older than I am right now!

I figured all of this out when I was in high school. Each time I would go over to visit my grandparents (he was married to this grandma), I made the time to have a long discussion with him.

It was during one of these debates that I learned the US had a base in Cuba. Grandpa was known for making things up, so I looked it up when I got home home (not as easy a feat pre-Google). Ma had already taught me that if you say something with enough conviction that people would believe you, and I honed those skills with Grandpa.

One thing that Grandpa loved to discuss was religion. I wasn’t that knowledgeable on the subject, so I had to prepare for those battles.

One day Ma came downstairs, and I was sitting at the coffee table, writing in a notebook with the Bible open, laughing almost maniacally.

“Um, what are you doing?”

“I found great ammo against Grandpa!”

“Let me guess, Leviticus?”

“Yes! You knew about this?!?!”

She shook her head and walked on by.

The next time I went to visit, I brought the Bible with me. Grandpa’s eyes lit up when he saw it. When we started our discussion, I came out shooting with both barrels.

“Grandpa, do you follow everything that the Bible says you should do?”

“Yes I do!”

“Do you eat pork?

“Yes.”

“Do you shave?”

A questioning glance crossed his freshly shaven face. “You can see that I do.”

“Both of those things are forbidden in the Bible.”

“Show me.”

I pulled out my Bible and turned to the page and showed him.

“No, in mine.”

So I found the verses in his.

“Brother Bob said that wasn’t important.” Even my adolescent mind knew the debate was over with that.

We continued having these lively debates, each claiming victories here and there, with both of us thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

Much like with Grandma, my version of grandpa differed dramatically from the man Rebecca knew. I wish she could have met mine. His mind failed him long before she was old enough to have appreciated his love of debate.

Do you have any family members with which you enjoy debating? or Have you ever been caught sitting by yourself, laughing maniacally, and frantically taking notes?

11 thoughts on “Fond Memories”

  1. I love how perceptive you were of your grandpa , like your observation that he was aching to be able to engage with someone philosophicaly, intellectually, etc. Nice that his little granddaughter brought him that challenge and delight.

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    1. I am so glad that I am able to have those memories of him. I don’t know what made things click in my mind. At that point in my life, if someone said something, I never dreams of contradicting him. I must have done it one day and his face lit up. Once I knew it was okay to argue back, I let him have it … in a loving way of course! He was a hard man to get to know, and I feel fortunate that I took the time.

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    1. I miss my Grandpa, too. It’s too bad that for as long as we can remember, our grandparents were old. Scary to think that they weren’t that much older than I am now. At least we have our memories.

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  2. I’m glad you have such fond memories of your grandpa. I remember my grandma really well, but I was too young for my other grandparents. I wish I had some memories like this, but all I have to go on is pictures and other people’s stories. Anyway, I don’t think I really have a relative I debate much with. Everyone in my family is mild-mannered and would rather not debate things. I guess I’m the oddball in the bunch because I actually like to do those things.

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    1. I was fortunate to have memories of all my grandparents. I’m glad that you were able to know your grandmother and that you are carrying the stories of your other relatives. It preserves their memory for another generation.

      Obviously, like you I fall in the debater category. I like to be challenged to think things through. So often people consider that to be conflict. I view it more as idea exploring.

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  3. Oh, how I miss my Grandfather – this is precisely the kind of debate he would enjoy. I miss my Grandmother, too. They were such amazing people in so many ways. I often find myself wondering where my Grandfather would side in a particular debate today. And I often find myself asking myself “what would he do in this situation? what would he say?” His influence still touches my life every day.

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    1. I’m so glad to hear that you also appreciated your grandfather’s debating skills. I’m pretty sure where my grandpa would stand on today’s issues. How wonderful that you can still imagine those debates with him now. He sounds like a fascinating man.

      I miss my grandma, too. I realized I had talked so much about her (she’s where I get the canning inspiration) and hadn’t mentioned him at all. He would have just turned 95 if he were still with us.

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  4. I was one of those kids who came along at the end of the line. Before I was two, three of my four grandparents had died; but I cherish the memories of my remaining grandmother.

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