When I was born, my mom swore she heard him playing the harmonica in the hallway. Even though he had left his instrument at home, the thought of him standing by, waiting for me to come into the world was a sweet memory.
It's been a year since he passed away, and it's still hard to believe that he isn't around. My Bumpa, the guy who used to make us pancakes for breakfast whenever we visited, the man who taught me to fish, the person who gave the best hugs, was one of those people who you thought would live forever. He was old, but he had so much spirit.
He was possibly the sweetest man I've ever known. What other grandpa would let two little girls play hairdresser for hours, letting us give him munchkin ponytails while we sat on his shoulders?He took us on boat rides and let us drive around the lake. He made fires in the backyard so we could roast marshmallows. It was always exciting getting to visit him up in Maine. He showed me how to be patient and compassionate, even when it's difficult
.Bumpa was quite particular too. He loved "The Price Is Right" more than anything – he watched it so often that he basically knew all the prices of the products. He drank milk with every meal,even though it made him sneeze like crazy. He drank his coffee in the same mug, and read the paper in the same order every day, saving the comics for last because they were his favorite. He showed me that routines and organization are good.
He joined the military when he was young and didn't get to finish high school. They held an honorary graduation ceremony a few years ago for him and his classmates. We all went to celebrate him, and we cheered when he crossed the stage. He showed me perseverance and determination and sacrifice.
Bumpa was very musical. I would always catch him humming, whistling, or singing. He had a panpipe and bongos, but his favorite instrument was the harmonica. He was the best harmonica player I've ever heard. He loved to play, and I loved to listen. One year for my birthday, I got a harmonica just like him. He never got to teach me to play, but one day, I hope to learn.
It hurts to know that I never got to say goodbye. I had no idea the last time I saw you that it would be the last time. It's sad that I won't be able to see you when we visit Maine, that I don't get to stay in your house on the lake anymore. I have so many wonderful memories, but it hurts to know there won't be any more to make.
Even though I'll miss you, I know that I'll always remember your hugs, your boating hat, and the way you called me "dear." You were a wonderful grandpa, and I was lucky to have you in my life. Thank you to the best boat captain, veteran, harmonica player, and fisherman. Thank you for all the memories, Bumpa.