Right smack in the middle of this great big group (and this is just the Westra clan), is Grandpa Norman. This last Thursday, he unexpectedly slipped into a coma and passed away. He would have been 95 this year. He shared his birthday with our #3, Keaton.
- My main memories of Grandpa are pretty fishy ... because Grandpa was quite the fisherman. I remember the uber early mornings as we headed out to Strawberry Reservoir ... his little boat ... sleeping in the trailer on his truck. He was a hunter too, but I never went on those trips ... just saw some of the results hanging on the walls in the basement family room. They freaked me out.
- I remember sleeping over at Grandma and Grandpa's house... shooting down their stairs and whirling around the bars there... dropping items through the laundry shoot ... running down the long, sloping sideyard ... picking raspberries from the garden and fruit from the trees ... barbeques around the gas grill in the backyard ... in the later years, playing a little rummy at the kitchen table.
- I've always been very hesitant behind the wheel of a car, not liking to drive downtown or other locations outside my comfort zone. I remember Grandpa drove me to the airport so I could see a missionary friend on his way (remember when that was allowed ... both by the church and by airport security?)
Grandpa went out of his way to help me say goodbye then, and now we say goodbye to Grandpa.
Updating this post ... we went to Grandpa's funeral on Wednesday. I guess we really hadn't prepared the young ones. As we went into the room for the family viewing, Gray tried to explain a little to Colton, who promptly dissolved into tears. Soon Cooper was sobbing too. I had my hands full with two crying kids. During the service itself, Keaton suddenly looked at me and said he felt sick. I had to take him out just in case ... after a drink he was feeling a bit better. The service was nice, it was fun to learn more about Grandpa and talk about his life. At the cemetery, there was a miliary salute (the older boys thought that was cool, the younger boys did NOT like the noise), taps was played and Grandma was presented with a folded flag.