Friday, April 8, 2016

G is for One Heck Of A Great Guy

I'm doing the A-to-Z Blog Challenge.

Today is for G, and G is for Grandpa George.

Now I don't have any grandparents whose names were George.

Neither to my children. Not officially anyway. But they do have a Grandpa George.

It's a little convoluted, I know. I'll try to explain, even though I'm not really sure why it started. All I know is it began around the time my oldest nephew was born.

My poor dad -- whose name is Leland -- spent many years adrift on the estrogen ocean with four daughters and no sons. He seemed pretty excited when his first grandchild turned out to be a boy. 

My Dad as the most
adorable boy ever. 
But Dad took one look at Nick and the first thing out of his mouth was, "Hey George!"

None of us really understood where it came from, but it seemed to be the pet moniker by which the oldest grandchild would be known.

Then Ryan, the second grandchild, came along. And wouldn't you know it? He was greeted by my dad with, "Hey George!" as well.

We teased my dad: "You can't call him George. That's the other grandkid's nickname."

My Dad served in the National Guard.
He was bit by a rattlesnake
that climbed into his sleeping
gear while down at Fort Polk.
But he continued to call both George.

And then the third grandson.

And then the first granddaughter. 

And then another grandson.

All George. Every. Single. One.

By the time my oldest came along, the name was so ingrained that we'd begun referring to him as Grandpa George.

Me with Mom and Dad, who are
dressed as Minnie Pearl and Junior
Samples from Hee Haw for a j
Halloween party. 
I didn't realize until we were preparing for the arrival of my youngest that Grandpa George wasn't just a nickname to her. She thought my dad's name really was George.

I learned this one day while filing through the "L's" in a baby name book. When I read the name "Leland" out loud, my oldest began laughing and said, "Leland? What kind of a name is that?"

She truly didn't believe me when I told her it was her grandpa's name.

"No. His name is George." 

That's how my youngest daughter, my youngest niece and, now, my parents' great-grandchildren know him, as well.

It makes me smile whenever they pester him or feed the bull right back to him.

My dad even calls his "granddogs" George.
My dad was always so busy working to make sure we had a comfortable life. He worked his butt off as a welder in a steel fabrication facility for the better part of 40 years before finally retiring.

Although we spent many glorious weekends camping and always took a summer vacation, I don't think we spent as much time as we should have with him in our "growing up years."

I'm glad I'm getting to know him better right along with my children. And now he can send us home if  he gets tired of us.


* * *
Kathryn Harris is an award-winning journalist and author of the contemporary novel THE LONG ROAD TO HEAVENAll royalties she receives from April 2016's online sales of The Long Road to Heaven will be donated in memory of the late Caylee Hoehne to theUnited Way for use with the Court Appointed Special Advocates program for abused and neglected children. Please consider helping this worthwhile cause. 


Jill said...

I hadn't seen any of those pictures before! Pretty cool!

Lissa Johnston said...

Very clever of your dad so he won't have to worry about calling anyone by the wrong name, or as I have done once or twice, call my child by the dog's name. Oops!