When you hear the word grandpa what comes to your mind? Do you have an image of your own grandpa in your head when you hear that word? We might think old person or funny person, maybe a caring and loving person. Maybe some of us don’t have a memory of our grandfathers. I am a grandpa and I love it! I absolutely enjoy hearing my grandchildren holler out “hey grandpa!”
My relationships with my two grandfathers were short lived. My Grandpa Bungarden died of cancer on October 4th 1967 when I was 10 years old. He was only 59 years old. I remember him sitting at the kitchen table in his home in his bib overalls and making me laugh. He liked beer, I remember that. They lived in Waseca on a lake and sometimes he would take me down to fish for bullheads! We used the old vintage cane fishing poles. I remember him helping me bait the hook with a night-crawler and laughing with me when I caught a bullhead. Between the house and lake was a very large willow tree, which you see in the picture. I loved laying under that tree as a kid. That’s about all I can tell you about my Grandpa Bungarden. As a child he looked old to me, and to think he was only in his late 50’s.
I did have a relationship with my Grandpa Raymo. I enjoyed going to his farm in New Richland, Minnesota to spend time with him and grandma. My brothers, sisters and I would visit often and spend a week or two with them in the summer. He died when I was 18 years old. My Grandpa Raymo was small in size, but he had a big heart! He was always helping people. I remember when Grandpa Bungarden died, he was over raking Grandma Bungarden’s lawn and doing home repairs for her. Grandpa would preach in churches often and would take me with him on Sunday mornings. He taught me to drive a car on the gravel roads around New Richland. He would often take us bowling. My favorite memory as a teenage boy is when we would hunt pheasants together, or do target practice on the farm. He died of a heart attack plowing snow in 1975. I remember coming home from school and my mom crying and telling us grandpa died. One of the saddest days of my life. I have great memories of my Grandpa Raymo and am thankful for that. He was very funny and always made me laugh. He taught me what a grandpa should be and how to be a grandpa.
Now it’s my turn to be a grandpa. It’s funny I don’t think I look like a grandpa and definitely my wife Roxie doesn’t look like a grandma! This past week we had three of our grandchildren with us and I constantly thought about making memories with them, so they will remember me when I am gone. The other day it was raining hard outside and I said let’s go outside and run in the rain! They thought that was awesome! Grandma didn’t! We played countless board and card games in the living room, went to the Dairy Queen and I let them get whatever they wanted! We did funny Snap-chat pictures together. They were in the 4th of July parade with us and we ate more than our share of Snow Cones from the Snow Cone guy and laughing at our different color tongues. And we just sat outside without our phones in our hands and talked to each other.
My Grandpa Raymo died at 65, my dad died at 65, all of a heart attack. I’m 61. When I turn 66 we will be having a big birthday party! The reality is, time on this earth is getting shorter for me and when I am around my grandchildren my thoughts are to spend quality time with them and make many memories. How do I want them to remember me? That is what I think about when I am with them lately.