Everyone maybe wondering what has been going on and why the blog hasn’t been updated in a few weeks. After arriving back in Austin for a week, I received a call from my mother that my Grandfather was in the hospital. I wasn’t too concerned until after a phone call the next morning when I was told that he only had a 50% chance of surviving the pneumonia he had been diagnosed with and that I needed to head for Wisconsin immediately. Immediately for some people means booking a flight, for me it means fuel and strategy. My uncle booked a flight leaving Austin the following morning at 6am, meanwhile I grabbed my brother and was on the road within a few hours. The drive stretched 1,230 miles which we covered in 18 hours showing up at 6:45am.
I was able to get to the hospital and spent the week there while my Grandpa looked like he was making a slow recovery. The hardest day of my life was saying goodbye, in a lucid moment he was able to talk to me like we were out for a cup of coffee or out on the back patio. I went back to Texas that next morning and flew back to Wisconsin 5 days just before he passed.
My Grandfather has always been a great inspiration and influence in my life. The way I act, joke around, and talk to people is directly related to how much time I spent with him throughout my life. He was a World War II Navy veteran of the Pacific Theater, leader of the family, wearer of his heart on his sleeve, degenerate golfer, and retired for 30 years. It’s no coincidence that cars and road trips have been in my blood since I was old enough to hold a map, stories of driving through Milwaukee and navigating with an upside down map of central America still come up at the kitchen table. Journeys to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for snowboarding or the 4th of July were never out of the question, let alone a 10pm trip to his favorite custard stand. The day I received my learner’s permit he threw me in the front seat of the caddy and had me drive him to Madison. A trip not just down a country road, but navigating towns, freeways, and traffic to see a cousin of his… I know he took that drive for me though. He bought me my first snowboard and made sure I always had a ride to the hill. Cold days of watching me compete with my parents, and longer days waiting to see me again while I was out on the road.
I currently sit at 36,000ft, wedged in the sardine seat of a Frontier airline, headed for my summer home in Austin. Life will go on for my family and I but I will forever have an empty space that he used to occupy. He will be missed but never forgotten. Grandpa