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I used to believe that good things like heroes and celebrities were just surreal people that do not live in places like Wisconsin. I also used to believe that I would not have to deal with death in my family. I was wrong.
My grandfather Clarence Roger Ganong, who everyone called Roger, was a
people-person. He used to leave my grandma and go talk to his friends. He is very stubborn, like me, and even if he was wrong he would never say he is wrong. He used to fish and hunt… both he was not very good at. He would go out at six on Sunday morning and come back for lunch having never shot a thing. But we had fun up at the cabin. Lots of memories with just me and grandpa.
One day grandpa and I were at his cabin and I was fishing at a dock and he was fishing at another dock. It was like any other day, not catching anything. I was fishing with a bobber and when I was reeling in, my bobber sunk underwater. I knew it was a monster. I put up a fight as well as it did, but my pole gave out. Grandpa knew I could do it by myself because he didn’t help with the reeling in. He would have if he knew I couldn’t reel it in.
So I ran to get my bay casting pole and casted it out. Before it even hit the water an immense fish grab my line I knew it was him; I was pulling and tugging while I was yelling, “Get the net! Get the net!”
My sister finally got the net and caught it. It was a muskie like I figured, and my sister went up to tell the others. It was me and my grandpa to get the fish off the line. We both didn’t like this part, having to touch the fish. So he stepped on it, pulling on the line. It came out like a toothless baby with a pacifier in its mouth.
It went on like that for a while… I always thought that he was invincible.
Then, one day, July in 2006 Saturday night, my parents sat me down and just straight up and told me, “Grandpa is going to have surgery in his brain.”
First I was confused, “What? How could this happen? When? Why?” I kept asking myself. I later found out that it was a bleed in his brain. Then it hit me. I would cry silently at night and wait until my family went to sleep to fall apart.
He turned out just fine. Still stubborn, still my grandpa, still Roger.
There was one thing I had to do though, I would have to go over to my grandparent’s house every time my grandma had to go somewhere which was nothing but good, I thought.
However, disaster struck close to home again. Again, I was sat down and was told on March 8, 2007 Grandpa was to be put in surgery in Marshfield. Again I would have to figure out why or how this was happening.
It was an aneurism in his aorta, which gave me almost no information at all because I didn’t know what that was. At least I had a name to go with it.
He dodged another bullet. I spent a week up in Marshfield and the first day I got to see him, the suspense was like the first hill on a rollercoaster that you never wanted to go on to begin with.
I walked in to his room, and there he sat, disoriented and his mouth hanging wide open. He was obviously not the same person as before. For the first time my parents saw me crying about my grandpa. I just lost feeling in my legs, knowing that he will not be fishing next year.
The nurse walked in and asked my grandpa to go around the room and name off the people who was in there.
“Who is that young lady over there?” the nursed asked (she was pointing to my mother).
“I… I don’t know,” my grandpa replied.
“Who is that young man over there?” I realized the nurse was indicating me.
“… Umm…” he thought, “Michael?”
Close enough, I thought.
“Mitchell, his name is Mitchell,” my mom said.
“Mitchell?” my grandpa said, as if he heard it somewhere before.
“And finally, who is that beautiful lady over there?” The nurse said as she looked at my grandma.
“That’s my beautiful wife, Mary,” my grandpa said; he didn’t even skip a heart beat.
We would soon find out that he would have good days and bad days. Some days his stubbornness would get the best of him.
“I WILL TELL YOU WHEN I WANT TO LEAVE,” he used to yell at the nurse. “I WANT TO LEAVE NOW!”
Finally after what seemed like years, grandpa finally made it back to Eau Claire. Yet the war was not over for him.
Soon after he got out of the hospital he went right back in, this time at Sacred Heart Hospital. He had pneumonia-not good for the old and still healing at the time. He was in for about two weeks.
Today he is doing what every old guy does, sitting on the porch reading with his wife… still doing what everyday heroes still do… being grandpa.