I have so many fond memories of him. Some of the earliest are of visiting him in Brigham City, Utah and playing on all the fun backyard stuff he made over the years. Grandpa loved to weld and invent things. I remember a really fun steep slide, monkey bars, homemade treadmill made with pipes that rolled as you walked on it (if that's not an ankle breaker..), a rocket, a device that you lay on and it inverts your body. I also remember playing on a big inflatable something that we jumped and bounced on and used as a human catapult. There were the old VW Bugs that we pretended to drive (he had a love of VW parts), and the irrigation water that we splashed around in every watering day. I remember the big cherry tree we would climb up in and eat cherries until we were sick.
I remember going in his homemade dune buggy (from VW parts) up to the mountains and driving straight up them until it wouldn't climb anymore and then we would roll back down and drive through the creek. I remember sitting on his knee while he bounced me up and down and sang his signature song. "duh da duh duh duh duh da da". I remember him asking me all the time, "A penny for your thoughts, Maria". I remember his sound effect for trucks and cars as we played them, "dugga dugga dugga".
He was famous for building things. His specialty was bathrooms. If you needed another bathroom in your house, grandpa would show up and build you one. He would see the need for something and just run to the store and buy the materials, come back and build it. When he came to visit us one time he built us an "A frame" playhouse with a storage shed underneath. We had many years of fun play time with that. It still resides at my parent's house. He literally built his own house (not the first time) with his own two hands, at the age of 80.
He has sent Jed, me and all of my children birthday cards every year since I can remember, not once forgetting. Each card filled with words and thoughts about each individual because he took the time to know each and every child's own personality.
I feel so blessed that I was able to go visit him a few weeks ago. My mom and sister and I drove down to see him for 3 special days. He was his old self, and we chatted and sat and listened while he watched his great grandkids throw rocks into his creek, and play in his backyard complete with all the earlier mentioned toys. He was always his happiest watching his grandkids. Even though he didn't feel good and was on oxygen he decided that one of his pocket doors in his house needed a doggy door in it so he installed one while we were there. He never slowed down. I cherish that time with him and am so grateful I have those memories.
He will be greatly missed as he blessed the lives of so many people and made everyone feel so completely special and like we were his favorite. I am so thankful he is my grandpa and I had the chance to know him on this earth. I am grateful that he is now with my grandma who has I'm sure, been waiting patiently for their reunion. I look forward to the day when I can give them both a huge hug. Goodbye grandpa fun, I love you and you will be missed.