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Memories Live On

By , Defiance, OH
Just the other day, my dad said to me, “Let’s see if you remember how to drive the combine. Get in there and pull it in the barn.” As he climbed up the into the old cab, he said to me, “Pawpaw would be so proud to see you driving the old combine.”

My grandpa, Dale, was born in the roaring ‘20s, to be exact, in October 1926. This was an era of hard work and farming for my pawpaw. He was a strong man. I have been told my parents that just he and a brother could pick up the end of a tractor. My grandpa, whom I called Pawpaw, fought in the Korean War. After the war, he felt that he should have children, so he married a woman seventeen years younger than he.

From the beginning, I was his favorite. My parents told me, when they brought me home from the hospital, he was waiting for me in our house. Since he died when I was little, I don’t remember much, but I do remember that he couldn’t walk very well; and towards the end of his life, he couldn’t walk at all. Even though he couldn’t get around much, he gave me whatever I wanted and let me do what I wanted. He would even let me paint his toenails and fingernails. One day he had to go to a funeral, and he let my brother, who is a few years older than I, give him a haircut. When he went to the funeral, he had bald spots all over his head and still had fingernail polish on his nails, but he didn’t care. He was proud of his grandkids.

My brother and I used to get on and off the bus at his house, so we would get up early and go down and around the corner to my grandparent’s house in the mornings. Every morning without flaw, Pawpaw would have fluffy pancakes as big as the skillet ready for us to gobble down. My brother always liked his with a crunchy ring on the outside and nice and fluffy inside. We were always amazed that Pawpaw could flip the pancakes with only one spatula. When he couldn’t get up and walk anymore, my dad would make Pawpaw, my brother, and I breakfast every morning, but it was never the same. My dad couldn’t make as big as pancakes as Pawpaw.

Pawpaw had heart problems, and his body was worn out from all his hard work. He died in November of 2000. I only remember that at his funeral there were doughnuts in the back room for close family. In our house, we have his flag from the army and a picture of him in his military uniform with his dog tags hanging on the frame. Every spring we plant marigolds and petunias, his favorite flowers, on his grave. Even though I was so young when he passed away, I still miss him every day.

I occasionally think of him or think, ‘What would Pawpaw think of me now all grown up?’ I know that he would most definitely not like me dating. I can just imagine him being worse than my dad about it. With every day that goes by, I would like to think that he watches me and makes sure I’m safe and smiles down at me as I drive the old combine.




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