It's Been One Year Since My Grandfather Died And It's Still Hard To Believe He's Not Around

It's Been One Year Since My Grandfather Died And It's Still Hard To Believe He's Not Around

Reflecting on a year without him.

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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.

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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9 Reasons Your Grandparents Are The Best Gifts You'll Ever Receive

They love us unconditionally and are always there to lend a helping hand.

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Grandparents are special. They are the leaders and foundations of our families. They love us unconditionally and are always there to lend a helping hand. The spoil us way too often! My grandparents mean the world to me. The picture above is one of my favorite photos with both my mother and my grandfather when I was a little girl. They are some of the best people in my life and have always set a good example for me. Cherish them while you can because they won't always be around! Here are nine reasons your grandparents are the best gifts you'll ever receive!

1. They give the best advice.

2. They have a lot of life experience and are willing to share it with you.

3. Their smile makes your heart warm.

4. They are so intelligent.

5. They have the best stories to share.

6. They are a great example of love.

7. Their hugs are like no other.

8. They spoil their grandchildren.

9. They love you unconditionally.

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