My grandpa was the sweetest man. He always made me feel like his favorite out of 10 grandchildren. Of course I wasn’t, but he just made me feel that way.
I grew up on a farm & my grandpa kept a few pen of cattle on our place. Each day, twice a day, he’d come over to “walk the pens”, which means walking through the cattle pens to look for sick cows, holes in fences, broken bunks or water tanks. Grandpa would greet me with “How-do?” I’d say “fine” & we’d be on our way to take care of the chores. My grandpa wouldn’t let me walk with him when I was small for fear I’d get stepped on, but when I got a little bigger, I was his constant companion. He would either call me a Snickle Fritz or Poompsy. Snickle Fritz was for when he was in a playful mood & Poompsy was for when he was snuggling me. My most favorite! Minus the whisker rub, but that little burn was a small price to pay for that special time with grandpa.
One of the best memories I have of our chore time was fixing a fence in one of the empty pens. He had tightened up the barbed wire & needed help with fastening the wire with steeples. I honestly don’t know if those long silver things were really called steeples or if they were staples? My grandpa called them steeples, probably to be funny & make me laugh…so to me they are steeples. My job was to hold those steeples & hand them to him when he asked. It was the first time I was asked to actually help! A very big deal to a little kid. I could only hold 3 or 4 steeples in my little hand, so I’m sure the job took 1/2 as long as it should have, but grandpa never acted annoyed. We finished the job & he took me to his house for some of grandma’s homemade ginger snaps. A reward for a job well done. He would tell my grandma that I practically fixed the fence all by myself, he was only there to supervise. Her response would be “Pifle Dad!” which was yet another strange word in my grandparent‘s vocabulary. Pifle. I love it & I use it to this day. It’s so much kinder to say pifle than, well, I’m sure you know it’s meaning.
My grandpa has been gone 10 years & there isn’t a day that goes by that I do not miss him. I think of him so often. He instilled in me a sense of hard work, respectability & class. He taught me to drive, he taught me to be kind to everyone & to slow down, life is not a race. All things I have passed on to my girls. I only wish they could have known him. I know they would have loved him as much as I did & it would melt my heart to hear him call them Snickle Fritz or Poompsy just once.