the last time i saw my granddad we were flying.

i hope he had a glass of lakeridge winery sunblush the night he died. i hope he had several glasses and didn't feel alone and scared when his heart failed as he slept on the couch last night. he talked about lakeridge winery like it was the promised land. i never tasted the sunblush but i hear it is very nice. one night when i was at his house after i was old enough to drink (legally), he asked me to choose a wine to drink and i picked the sunblush. he went into the kitchen to pour some for each of us and came back 10 minutes later with two glasses of white wine. i didn't care for it, but i pretended that it was awesome because i could see how much he wanted me to enjoy it. and so we sat in his office, decorated with fragments of computers and rally race trophies and discussed regrets and futures.

my grandad lived his life. sometimes he seemed self-indulgent, sometimes he seemed like one of those men who never grew out of thier fascination with cars and gadgets... i can't deny that he did spend a lot of money on himself. but it wasn't about indulging himself, it was about enjoying things. his enjoyment was all the greater when he could share in it with other people. he truly loved to give things to me. we loved to struggle with out cameras and tripods as we trapsed around central florida in search of the next adventure, not really caring if that was breakfast at nana's, lunch at palace pizza, dinner at the terrace, of flying over florida in an open cockpit bi-plane.

last time i was with him he booked us a 15 minute flight in a reconstructed bi-plane. we put on snoopy caps and aviator goggles, signed our lives away, and climbed in. the pilot was a tall man whose confidence floated back to the passengers as he taxied down the runway and into the sky. we circled lakes and million dollar homes, getting lessons in aerodynamics and perspective as we skimmed over the tiny interstate. we left the world for 15 minutes, we detached oursleves from gas prices and worry. i think that how we felt during that brief stint in the air is how he probably feels now. i don't think he has regrets. my grandad failed many, many times. he struggled with wine and women, with temper, and with pride. sometimes he was not a very good father to my mother or husband to my grandmother. i envy him. he has the only thing i want, he is with jesus. the glimmering gates have swung wide and he is innocent again. his pride and ex-wives are gone, his sin is gone, his pain is gone, but his jesus is still there.

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  1. Abby November 26, 2007 at 1:16 PM

    Glad you switched over (isn't it infinitely better?). This is a really great piece; I especially love the first paragraph. A perfectly chosen anecdote for characterization.