This post will attempt to combine the story of a death and a birth all into one magnificent tale. Most people are aware that Grandpa Russell (Al) died a couple of weeks ago. Most people are also aware that Carrie (my sister) celebrated her birthday about a week ago, two days after Grandpa's funeral. So the best way to combine these two events is to recall a treasured memory of mine-
Many years ago our parents decided they needed a break from their awesome and perfectly behaved children. They decided to go to Hawaii for a week or two and to let the grandparents enjoy the presence of their awe inspiring grandchildren that they never got to see enough of. Some of the details are fuzzy since this occurred about 20 years ago (that makes me feel old. Valerie also pointed out to me that I am getting lots of wrinkles by my eyes that I didn't have before. That also makes me feel old which brings me to an important topic-music. Kids today just don't appreciate good music. Neil Diamond was on American Idol recently where he gave the performance of a lifetime. He performed a dazzling number from his new album. It started slow and built and built and then Diamond started shaking his hips and grooving his whole body to the rhythm of the music like a man possessed. When the music really started rocking he shuffled his feet and did his version of the running man dance. While this amazing display was going on the crowd of young girls in the front row, rather than scream and faint and do what those girls usually do for the other performers, they just kind of stood there and looked confused and out of place. So my point is that Neil Diamond was under appreciated and frankly it makes me sick). So it must have been summertime because we had our little kiddie pool set up in the back yard (old house). It was the kind of pool that came packed tightly into a small box and you unfolded it and propped the sides up and only when it was full of water did it sort of maintain the shape it showed in the picture on the box. Once in the pool, the only thing separating you from the hard ground was about three millimeters of thin, odorous, blue plastic. Normally that might not sound appealing, but some of the best times have been spent in pools just like that all over America. So the three of us kids played in the pool. The water was cold the air was hot and the supervision was minimal as the grandparent stayed inside doing whatever it was that they liked to do (like I said the details are fuzzy). So there came a point where I had to go pee. Carrie told me that I could pee in the pool and she promised she wouldn't tell. Back and forth we went "you promise not to tell?", "Yes, I promise I won't tell Grandpa", "you really promise?", "Yes, I promise. For reals. I won't tell." After such convincing I went pee in the pool. As I was peeing Carrie was running into the house to promptly tell Grandpa. At this point I'm not sure what Johnny B was doing. Was he in the pool while I was peeing? Was he by the fence trying to communicate with the neighbor kids Chucky and Katie? Or was he inside with the grandparents? If anyone has further details, please post in the comments section. So, as I finished my urination break Grandpa bursts through the back door and thus began the chase. I'm not sure how long we ran around out in the backyard, but I do remember that Grandpa was wearing pointed boots. I also remember being chased around the backyard when we got into Grandpa's shaving cream. We got Grandma so mad at one point that she even said the world "crap."
Certainly these are not my only memories of Grandpa and Carrie. Grandpa was a man of few words, but when he spoke people listened. In a job interview I had last week they asked me what kind of sense of humor I had. I said that my sense of humor was dry, but that I'm kind of a funny guy. I said I think I get it from my Grandpa. If I do, then I'm very lucky. We will miss Grandpa. But, we also learned something valuable from all of this. If Carrie promises she won't tell on you, don't trust her. I have a feeling Leila will be the same way, so Spencer and Marissa should be careful. P.S. Carrie had the best birthday ever in a Cedar City Dairy Queen. We broke the fire code and lit candles inside and everything. We even used Johnny B's leatherman knife to cut into a rock solid ice cream cake. The cake was Carrie's, but somehow it ended up at Johnny B and Erin B's house. Go figure.
My eyes and hands are tired. Goodnight.