Two weeks after Rabbit came to live with me, I got some bad news. My grandfather (aka Papa) passed away. He'd been in poor health for several years, and really deteriorated over the last two. So while I am glad he's no longer a great mind stuck in a failing body, I'm still having a hard time grasping a world without the person in my family who was always accepting of me exactly the way I was.
He was a mechanic in WWII, and didn't participate in any grand campaigns...but he served, and he helped keep the Army moving. We learned a more about his service after he passed away and my cousin M and I sorted through boxes of old papers and photos. We even found his last ration card, and a German phrase book - we knew he'd volunteered to go to Berlin, but finding this proof was cool.
I think he's pretty handsome. But he was a regular guy - a farmer who was born, raised, and died in the same tiny little town in Oregon, on the same ranch his own father built. So I think he'd rather be remembered for something like this instead of the war picture.
That's my cousin Scott with Papa. He's the oldest, so I don't think I was even born at this point. And the stuff they're standing in? It's mint. From what I understand, it was the first and only time they ever planted mint because that stuff is a weed, especially after a dust storm picks up the plowed up roots and plops them down all over the alfalfa fields.
Papa was a real family man. He had three daughters that spent their entire lives arguing over who was the favorite, much to Papa's dismay. At least, his pretended dismay. He had eight grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, including R, the daughter my cousin placed for adoption, and two great-great-grandchildren, even though he never got to meet those boys. We range all over the country from Massachusetts to California, from Oregon in the north to Atlanta in the south. He left behind a great legacy and I love to imagine him happy and healthy again, in his tuxedo dancing with the love of his life.