Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My Grandpa


Grandpa Whitaker
1920-2006

Unlike most people I know, I had the fortune of growing up with my grandparents for a few years when I was a kid. I was 4 when we first moved in with them and I have a lot of good memories of those years. We lived in a small town in Nebraska. To a little girl living in a little town, my grandpa seemed like a pretty big deal. He was an optometrist and it seemed like everyone knew "Doc Whitaker." Wherever I went I was Doc Whitakers grandkid and I always felt proud of that fact.



My grandpa was the type of person who made everyone feel like they were his favorite. However, my brother and I were lucky to have had the grandkid monopoly for about 10 years . . . so I'm sure we especially felt that way. I have a lot of favorite stories and memories of my grandpa and here is one of those memories. This may not be 100% accurate, as is often the case with distant memories, but this is how I remember this event playing out in my head . . .

When I was probably around 6 or 7 it was Christmas eve and as any little kid I was at the pinnacle of excitement. Our family has a wacky tradition of opening all our gifts on Christmas eve and then Christmas Day we just open stockings and Santa Clause gifts. Well, we had already had our traditional Christmas Eve Enchilada Dinner that evening (also rather wacky) and had opened all our gifts as well when I was walking around the house not wanting to go to bed just yet . I remember walking past my grandparents bedroom and I see my grandpa and my uncle hovering around the radio. They're fiddling with the dial and holding the radio up closely to try and get a good listen. I stopped at the doorway and wondered what was going on. My grandpa then saw me from the corner of his eye and said "The radio announcer said they just spotted Santa Clause! He's coming this way!" I about peed my pants. "WHAT? He's coming????? Ohmygosh. . . oh no. . . I better get to bed!!!!" Frantic excitement had just set in and I was scrambling. With that my grandpa followed my lead and was right behind me just working me up even more. . . "Oh boy! You better get to bed before he passes right over us . . you don't want that to happen . . . " etc, etc. I don't remember all the details but I do know I was in bed in about 5 seconds and could barely sleep because my grandpa told me Santa Clause was coming this way and that's ALL I KNEW . . . and I would swear on my life that I heard sleigh bells coming from the roof that night as I lay in bed.

I've often looked back at that experience and just wondered "How did grandpa know I was coming? Were they just waiting for me to walk past the room? Did he plan that or was it just spur-of-the-moment?" Either way it was just one of those childhood moments for me that my grandpa made very special and I'll never forget it.

4 comments:

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  2. Sis, you almost made me cry. I think the funniest thing about grandpa. We all have different stories about him. You and Brandon have a lot that you both shared with him... Have a safe flight and tell everyone I said hi.
    Love you
    Josh

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  3. I miss that house so much...Sorry you might get a lot of messages from me tonight. I'm sorry

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  4. amy, i'm sorry for your loss. he sounds like a wonderful grandpa

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