My absentee speech for my grandfathers memorial service, which is tomorrow.
I think the memories you form of someone when you’re a little kid are the most brilliant and most lasting of all. That being said, you would think it would be easier to put into words the huge impact that someone like my grandfather has had on my life. To say I was proud of him would be an understatement. To simply say that he loved us would not do him justice. Is it bold of me to say that he was a hero to everyone who knew him? What I am sure of is that he is the most fascinating person I have ever known, and I never tired of hearing about his adventures.
I can remember family holiday dinners where we would sit around the table for what seemed like hours after the meal was over, begging for just one more story of his travels. As I remember, he was never the one to offer the stories; he had to be goaded. After many “please, please PLEASEs” he would relent and we would listen enraptured to the tale of how he acquired the table sized gong-like dish in a market in Morocco, or the noisy clock from Germany. Or, more close-to-home tales such as my young father speeding away on a moped while Gramp was sitting on the back, leaving him on his backside in the middle of the road (accompanied by much cursing). To us as kids, there was no end to the hilarity of this.
The travel stories were my favorite, however, and I dreamed of one day seeing the world like he had. The romance of flying off to Tokyo or London as if it was just across town sounded incredibly exciting, and it goes without saying that the idea of air travel in our family was never something that was discouraged. Any apprehension that I may have had never took root, because as long as there was - at least in my young imagination- someone like my grandfather sitting in that cockpit I knew nothing bad was ever going to happen to me. I believe that same seed has been planted in my sister and brother as well as myself. It has carried us all over the world and is why I cant be there today. I hope I am living in his path. After all, it’s an amazing path to aim for.
It’s also much more than just memories of him that I carry with me but part of his spirit as well, which has been instilled in me from a young age. I have been blessed with his patience as well as his temper, his spirit of adventure and sociability as well as the love of quiet moments at home spent with a book. He will be greatly missed, but I will bring him with me on all my life’s future adventures and I know he’s still up there in the cockpit looking after me.