Spring time in Utah always brings mixed emotions for me. First of all the temps change and that always triggers the end of the ski season. I go through this every year, but I said “mixed”.. I know once the snow is no longer skiable, it’s time to do other sports, like hiking, biking and more flying.
This year we decided to take the weekend to visit with family and celebrate my Grandfather’s 95th birthday. My Grandpa is an amazing guy. He has lived his life in Southern Utah. As a young boy he lived in a sheep camp herding sheep on the Arizona strip outside of Saint George Utah. He also served in WWII as a radio operator. He served several LDS missions in places like Samoa and New Zealand (hence my love for the polynesian culture). This guy has always been outside fishing, hiking, hunting and exploring. He made his living as a plumber. Not just any plumber, but the “go-to” guy when it came to complicated boiler systems all over the state. My grandma would complain that if he got a call in the middle of the night from a neighbor to come over and fix a furnace, blocked toilet or general fixit projects, he’d jump out of bed and help anyone that asked. Never waiting for the next day to help.. always in the moment.
When we first got to St. George, we stopped to see my Grandpa at his condo. The lights were out and I thought that maybe he wasn’t there. Then I realized that because he’s blind, lights are for for everybody else. I was right, he was there and asked us to come in. As we sat down he said.. “now, who are you?” I said “Dain.. your oldest grandchild?!?” He went on to tell me that getting old has caused his memory to not work right. I didn’t feel bad, I was sad to see that one of my childhood heros was mortal and showing the signs of getting older. As we spoke, my Grandpa started remembering that I teach skiing and do radio, we have 3 kids and other details that really amazed me how sharp his mind really is.
I love this guy and love hearing his stories of his past. He always tells us how much he misses Grandma.. she passed away 4 years ago. They did everything together. These guys were the ultimate adventurers. Traveling and living all over the world.. with a home full of decorations from all these magical places. When Grandma died a piece of Grandpa died too. At the time he wouldn’t admit it, but now it’s pretty obvious how much he loves and misses Grandma. My grandpa is blind, yet he still walks for several hours at a time when he gets bored. I asked how he gets around town on his walks, he said,”well I’ve lived here my whole life.. I should be able to find anything here”.. what a guy.
Because it was his birthday AND Easter weekend we got to see cousins and family too. It was nice to reconnect with all of them. Dale, Chris, Kim, Marci, Jen, Jami, Russ, Preston, Joey, Scott, Jenny.. extended family and their spouses. My baby brother Jon and his wife made the trip too..
Jon and I have always been close.. he’s a good dude. Plus a drummer.. so hey! We’ve decided to go audition for Blue Man Group.. I’ll let you know.
One of my favorite things to do in St. George is to climb the red rocks around town.. as a kid, we would always challenge each other to see who could climb the highest, fastest and furthest.
Today as we talked about leaving town, Lelani decided that she and Emi wanted to go to church with Grandpa. So while they were in church I decided to head back into the red rocks and do a little hiking and soul searching. It’s amazing how all my adventures with Grandma & Grandpa started flooding back. All the picnics, hikes and fishing trips.
I remembered one Easter I was hiking with my Grandparents on Cedar mountain. My grandma had hidden Easter eggs along the trail.. I found one that looked a little different so I bit into it…. it was crunchy, gooey and not candy.. I found a Robin egg and attempted to eat it. This one event has become family folk lore. I remember it like it was just a few years ago… I think I was 4 or 5..
While hiking I decided to stop by the cemetery and chat with Grandma…
I miss her.. she was a funny lady. Grandma and I had a heart to heart.. just like when she was here. I felt her presents and started to cry… I can’t believe it’s been 4 years since she passed away. I told her I missed her and will see again someday.. then it hit me. Easter!! That’s the promise! She taught me again.. to remember the significants of things. I smiled, said goodbye and walked through the cemetery where I found Lelani’s Grandmother and Grandfather.. Netty was a special lady too. I miss her as well.
I guess Easter took on a different meaning for me this year.. not just because we ate at Sizzler.. that was different.. It was all the family, reflections and Grandparents. What a gift..
I hope I get to see my Grandpa again soon… before he reconnects with Grandma… Of course I know that will happen someday, and of course that will be a mixed emotion day/event again. I think I’m starting to see a pattern here.
Yes… Today I am Rich!!