Late on Sunday night, just weeks after his 90th birthday, my Grandpa Glen passed away. He had been declining for some time, and more aggressively in the last few weeks so despite being a time of loss there is a sense of relief as well. One of my favorite stories about my Grandpa Glen happened long before I (or my dad, for that matter) ever came along. (my dad is the cute little boy in the photo)
Apparently, as a young man my grandpa was quite the jokester. He worked on the railroad for a good portion of his life, and as a teenager my grandma and some of her girl friends liked to hang out at a little cafe near the tracks. They would flirt and joke over milkshakes, but there was never any expression or declaration of affection. I'm not sure how long my grandparents knew each other, but everything changed on the night of a high school dance. My grandma was getting ready for the dance and waiting for her date to pick her up when my grandpa showed up and told her she wasn't going to the dance because she was engaged! To HIM! And he wasn't joking! As my grandma tells it, her date showed up and she bashfully greeted him at the door to tell him she couldn't go because she had gotten engaged that afternoon. Despite having quite a sense of humor, at this point he was very serious and they were married a short time later. Although I'm not sure how I would react to my grandpa's tactics, it makes me smile to think of this scene playing out in real life. In my family. Little snippets from my grandpa's life seem often to happily resemble "It's a Wonderful Life."