There was a special honor and priviledge to being Charlie Cook's granddaughter. The people working the New Preston Church tag sale would always try to give me things for less than they were priced. The town beach people let me swim even if my grandpa wasn't there. We got to sit right up close next to the fire trucks for the 4th of July fireworks because my grandpa was an EMT. The summer I worked at Camp Wightman, I gained immediate respect from the Thursday Crew when Gordon Beals said, "Do you know who this young lady's grandfather is?". And no matter where we went in Bristol, we would run into someone who knew and remembrered my grandpa fondly.
And this was all with good reason because my grandpa was one of the strongest, kindest, smartest, nicest people I have ever known, and I learned a great deal from him. I learned to love and care for all of God's creatures even if their mothers refused to feed them, they were found in a dumster, or they wreaked havock by thinking they were people, breaking through the pasture fence, and walking right up to the house. I learned the sweetness of a white peach picked at the right time, the wonderful tartness of an an early mac. I learned never to waste what you had been given, because the ground and the animals won't turn up their noses at it. I learned to welcome unexpected guests with food and rest. I learned that if there wasn't the right tool for the job at hand, something around would work. And I learned how to behave in society, because I didn't want to end up in the cow water.
Growing up I had always thought that my grandpa was going to live forever. He was going to push my children on the swing he built for George and me. He was going to teach them to know when fruit is ripe and set them to work. He was going to make them perfect fried eggs and cook on the grill every holiday. He was going to be at my ordination. And he was going to continue salting everything before tasting it.
That wasn't true, and I knew it when the Alzheimer's started to win. But I know he loved me, and he did all of those things for me, and because of that a part of him will be there for all of those events in me. And someday when I finally preach a sermon with that devil story in it, he'll be mouthing the words right along with me.