Sunday, June 6, 2010

Grandpa Jim

One of my very favorite people on earth passed away today, or, as I'd rather think of it, moved on to other astral planes. My Grandpa Jim was very, very special to me. He was a man in my life who always made me feel like I was going to take over the world. He loved me unconditionally, and I him. He could be cantakerous at times, with a lot of people, but never with me, and even when he was being a bit mischevious ( and thus driving my mom/grandmother/uncle/etc NUTS) I couldn't seem to help but side with him.

(Grandpa, mom, her brother Steve, David in Ohio in 2008)

An example of a bit of mischief (relatively low-grade, as these things go) a quite fancy cloth napkin from the chic restaurant Revolver. He couldn't believe the cost of the food, so I think this was him getting our moneys worth. And really, not a bad idea.

(resourcefulness at its finest.)

Grandpa was big on the video camera when I was little, and he always liked to keep up with technology (like another dashing fellow I know...) which is really lucky for me, because I can now watch videos of my (obviously adorable) 3 year old self, and the crazy hair my mom had in the early 90's, and most importantly, my amazing grandparents, who treated me like an absolute princess and whose presence every summer was a total treat. My Grandpa Jim and Grandma Becky taught me what a beautiful marriage was, and created another one of my favorite people on earth, my Mom.

Also, importantly, Grandpa Jim taught me to love cheese. If I ever have a sandwich shop, the James. O. Walton special would be a THICK slice of cheddar cheese (with more on the side for snacks), a slice of raw sweet onion, piled between two slices of squishy white bread.

(Amish Cheese. We went to Amish country often when I visited, mostly, I now realize, to load up on cheese!)

I got to see Grandpa Jim quite a bit in the last year or so, and I felt proud that my experiences in New York seemed to bring him so much joy. He was my biggest cheerleader and patron, and there was not a doubt in his mind that David and I were going take over the world. When I told him about Davids job at Starbucks, "He'll be running that place in no time" was his immediate and matter of fact response. In one of my recent visits, as I was leaving, Grandpa found the perfect words for our special closeness- one which I always felt was unique, like we just understood each other, and were always on each others team, but had never really found words for. A secret society of two.

As the car pulled up to take my mom and I to the airport, Grandpa took my hand and said simply "Why are you my favorite?". His clear green eyes were earnest and sweet, they winked at me without actually winking, something he did a lot.

I didn't really tell you all the amazing things there are to tell about James O. Walton of Ohio. I feel so lucky that he took the time during his retirement to write his autobiography, and maybe over time I will tell you about parts of it, but for now, I just wanted to write what was on my mind, sort of a toast I guess. This was really more for me than you, blog-ether. I just want the world to know that a wonderful man left us today, but he lived an enviable life, and he will live always in my heart, right at the center. I hope someday I can build a life and family as full and beautiful as his was.

I love you Grandpa Jim. You're my favorite.


Chelsea said...

This is a beautiful post, dear. I'm sorry to hear he's passed away and sending big hugs to you and Linda!

Miranda said...

Thanks, my love. Big hugs are of course the very best medicine.

Joni said...

Dear Miranda:

I have such wonderful memories of both your grandparents! They were always fun to be around and your grandfather always had the most twinkly eyes. I never saw a smile leave his face. During our visits with him he was always so interested in what people thought, what you kids were up to, and what he would cook for dinner :}

Ironically, last night before I received the news of his passing, I was going through my recipes looking for something to fix and I found your grandfather's barbecue sauce. I had copied it verbatim from him and he had included the note "excellent on flank steak!" That was your Grandpa Jim--always positive.

I think memories of people will always live on through their gifts of food and good cheer. By that criteria--your grandfather will be immortal!

Love to you and your mom,