Monday, December 20, 2010

{Christmas and memories and such...}


Today, I was spending some time glittering these "16-for-a-dollar-at-Target-dollar-spot-ornaments" and my mind wandered as I worked.

And it took a little wander down memory lane to a time when my Grandpa Headlee was still here and we spent nearly every Christmas break at his house in Park City.

There was a lot of gaming {Monopoly, chess, war, and speed were the favorites} and a lot of fighting over the gaming {because my brothers were big fat cheaters} and there was a lot of eating, and a lot of ski trips, and sledding excursions, followed by sitting in grandma and grandpa's over-sized jetted tub in our swimsuits trying to thaw out after a long day of snow play...

There was a lot of hot chocolate for breakfast {SUCH a treat} and way too many little brown packages of peaches and cream instant oatmeal consumed.

We watched with pleasure from the giant kitchen windows as bright, colorful hot air balloons lifted high into the morning sky over the golf course that was grandpa's backyard. {Wow, that golf course needs an entire post of it's own...followed by a letter of apology to whoever kept the grounds during the decade grandpa had his house, and mischievous grandchildren, there.}

There was pool playing in the basement.
And fighting over the pool playing.
And getting into lots of trouble
for doing violent things to one another
and destructive things to the house
as a result of the pool playing/fighting...

But the best thing about the Park City house was Grandpa Headlee.
I still remember everything so clearly.

His immaculate plaid pajamas...
His distinguished white hair...
His handsome face and awesomely huge glasses...
The prominent nose of which he was remarkably proud...
{"If I had a nose full of nickles, I'd be a millionaire!" he'd sing...}

The enormous stashes of juicy fruit and doublemint gum in his closet and top drawer.
Perfectly stacked bricks of white and green and yellow.
Stacks that would make any drug lord worth his salt jealous as the day is long.
Stacks that could make any kid feel like the most powerful person in the world.

Do you remember how you felt the first time you had your own ENTIRE pack to yourself?

And do you remember how good it felt to know that you could eat all 5 sticks right that very moment if you gosh dang wanted to...

Or how good it felt to know that you could choose to eat only half a piece at a time thereby guaranteeing yourself 10 full days of gum chewing pleasure?

Can you guess which one I was?

Ha ha!

I was the "go out to the porch swing with a down blanket, eat all five sticks, close my eyes, and sigh with pleasure as way too much sugary juice flooded my mouth and oozed down my throat" type. {Shocker, I know.}

Not just because I lack self control so badly that it is ridiculous, or because I was born with the concept of "go big or go home" genetically imprinted on my soul, but because with grandpa, there was always the guarantee of another pack {and another...and another.}

Having my own pack of gum made me feel inexplicably powerful, and I think being his grand daughter molded a large part of who I am. Now when people ask me how I can confidently wear such bold jewelry, or why I am so opinionated, I am tempted to simply say

"Because my grandpa gave me my very own packs of gum all my life." {Duh.}

But since that would sound mild-to-moderately-insane, I usually just shrug.

But it's the truth.

When someone gives you the power to make your own decisions {be it what you're going to wear to school, how you're going to cut your hair, or just exactly how many sticks of gum you are going to consume in any given 2 minute period} it changes you. It strengthens you. It makes you feel like you can decide {decisively} on other things. Any things. All things. It's a confidence builder.

Grandpa knew this.
Grandpa knew a lot of things.

He knew that grandkids needed to be told{and told OFTEN} that they could accomplish anything they set their minds to.

He believed that even the smallest of children should be able {and encouraged} to form and back-up an opinion on anything & everything. {Anything and e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. I tell ya. No subject was too small or trivial.}

He was amazing.

He was warm, funny, smart as an ever-lovin' whip, and so full of love it often felt like he could blanket the whole wide world.

He once invited a homeless man to join him for dinner. When the man said he couldn't because he had no shoes {which violated the restaurant's dress policy} he bought him a steak dinner "to go" then presented him with a boxed dinner... his shoes... and his socks. He then walked to his car in the dead of a Salt Lake City winter in bare feet. {Oh how I love him...}

So, this time of year, I think of him.
And I miss him so much.

And I hope that in some small way,
all the good that he brought with him into the world
will be kept here by those who knew and loved him.
By those who felt of his love personally.
By those who can't bear to live in a world
that no longer remembers that he was once here.

And I hope that his memory will be kept alive by me.

I hope I can be the kind of friend that he was.

I hope that I can have the strength to stand up for what I know is right and true.
No matter what.
Even if it's not popular.
Even if it's "really hard."
{Grandpa was a MASTER at this one.}

I miss Park City.

And sometimes I miss my childhood and all of the magic that was woven into it on what seemed to be a regular basis.

But mostly, I just miss Grandpa.

I'm not feeling sad...{per se}

more like nostalgic...
v.e.r.y nostalgic
and even more grateful.

Grateful for his life,
his legacy,
his influence,
his love,
and lots and lots and lots of gum.


Celeste said...

one of the best things i've ever read. i wish i had known any of my grandpas & i wish they were like yours. beautiful

thanks for the ability to comment. i hope that it isn't a problem for you or makes you hate blogging, cuz you're ever so good at it.

Life with Kaishon said...

Your Grandpa was outstanding. From his hair to his bare toes. How kind. What a blessing to have had that sort of influence as you grew.

I miss my grandparents so much.

Beautifully written Lola.

Caseybumpinalong said...

Wonderful, wonderful post!

imemary said...

I'm a half-a-stick-at-a-time kind of person...but I have an entirely different gum background.

Wanda said...

What a beautiful picture you paint with your words. Quite a gift.

And what an awesome blessing your Grandpa was.

Happy Holidays!

Janine said...

What a beautiful post Lola. A real tribute of your love to this amazing man. I never knew any of my grandfathers like that, but I do have a special Granny that I am sadly having to slowly say goodbye to. Your post so warmed my heart today.

Ashlee Headlee said...

I might have just cried... alot. But just like you said, I am not sad, I just miss having him around. And i miss not having to buy my own gum:)