Sunday, April 20, 2008

Chapter 1 Grandpa Johnson


among other things, my grandpa is drop dead gorgeous

I have had a couple rough nights this week after I found out my grandpa was put in the hospital. He is home now, recovering. I guess I cant help but think that at some point (hopefully not soon) he will succumb to the inevitable. It stings now maybe because when I loose him the pain of loosing my grandma will surface and double. He is not only a great man himself, but a link to my grandma. When I'm with him he is always reminding me of her great selfless life.

I'm very grateful that since my diagnosis grandpa will talk frankly about life, death, love and loss with me. No one else will hear me talk like that. I really appreciate it. We wondered together which of us would make it back to grandma first to send her the others love.

Grandpa said when we get there (heaven of course) nothing will matter but your family. You can try to please others but your family will be the ones that will be important to you in the end.
Grandpa your family will love you to the end. Your relationships with me means the world. You have always been kind, thoughtful, and dang funny!

When I blogged about reading other peoples stories with cancer, and feeling envious they had outlets for their anger I couldn't use, immediately I got an email from my grandpa (born and raised in Beaver Dam, a small town in Cache Valley). I copy it here so you get a taste of what a hilarious person he is.

Alisa,

I just read your blog about your jealousy of those who
can drink and swear. I don't think I can help you out
with the drinking but I surely can on the swearing.

In naming an article you needn't use two words but can
just use one. This is the case with the names of towns
also. With Beaver Dam, you can get buy just using the
latter word.

Instead of using the normal non swearing phrase of
gosh awful, I have freedom to use just Dam when it
comes to referring to my place of birth. I have
extended this principle to naming my place of birth
instead of beaver dam I feel very justified with just
using Dam.

Typically this right to edit the name of this town is
only for those living or born in Beaver Dam but the
privilegeof editing the name of this town has been
extended to you through the inheritance of your
grandfather.

We hope the use of this word will help give you the
feeling that you can selectively and emphatically
employ the words of your non member friends.

Sure love you and you are in my prayers continuously.

love Grandpa Johnson

I was in tears when I read it. I dont know if they were from laughing or from feeling that my grandpa loves me deeply. It was so thoughtful, and fulfilled a real need. I said through the tears "Thats the best Dam advice anyone has given me!" I've edited the towns name when nothing else can describe how I'm feeling. Thank you for the Dam gift grandpa!

I would love to hear some funny things grandpa has said to you, it seems like every time I'm with him there is something to laugh about.

Grandpa has lived a wonderful life. I know grandpa is a lot of things to a lot of people. People might know him as a great dentist, a true friend, a smart businessman, a great horseman, a funny uncle, a faithful saint. The list would of course go on. But to me he is my beloved grandpa.
I love you grandpa "right past outer space" (as Sam would say) .

The pain of death and sickness is deep, but love is deeper, stronger, and permanent.

18 comments:

All about the Benjamin's said...

Alisa-
I really loved this post, Thanks for sharing with all of us who read your blog. I hope he feels better soon, I think it is so great you have someone to talk to and make you feel so great with all your going through.
We think of you and Josh often.
Take care!
Shalise

ronco said...

Wow, I wonder if Grandpa only gives that inheritance to his relatives with cancer, because I can think of some very fun, choice phrases with that word in them.
There was one memorable time that Grandpa remembered his hometown after a flubbed golf shot. He really loves that town!

Ashly said...

I love it! I don't know your grandpa, but I wish I did!

emilie said...

Alisa, I love this post. It made me smile and laugh. I've also felt affected this week hearing the news about Grandpa. And it made me think of how Grandpa has inspired and loved me.

I remember being really little and approaching Grandpa, with his big jovial smile and his big belly. He would say to me, "i need some 'us' glue, ems." His fingers were 'stuck' together and that is what he came up with as a name for the situation. I was totally delighted and felt really special, as every time I came around the situation was the same.

I also remember when Julie and I drove from Massachusetts to Minnesota with Grandma and Grandpa in the big poop-brown van. I was ten and Julie was 11. Grandpa whistled along the whole way and listened to Kenny Rogers. Every four hours or so, like normal little human beings, Julie and I would have to pee so bad. We would beg Grandpa to stop and he would sort of jovially reply that we would stop soon enough, but that we needed to make good time. Julie and I would giggle in the back until the need to pee was painful and Grandma would, of course, interject and command him to pull over, "Vere, these girls need to go to the bathroom!"

Much later on when I was driving from Seattle to Utah for university, Grandpa came with me. He was my co-pilot. So, our roles were reversed this time and for the 12 hours we were in the car, I experienced Grandpa as a different man. Grandma had just recently died and I think everyone in our family was a bit taken back by Grandpa’s reaction. He was still jovial, but he was marked with sadness and even remoteness at times. As we sat in the car for those twelve hours, I listened to him tell and re-tell his view of their meeting, their early courtship and how he had almost lost her when they were in their twenties. I heard the longing in his voice – almost for her to hear him recount those early tales. I heard the void Grandpa felt, the space Grandma filled in his life, his thoughts, himself, but only now profoundly realized. I watched Grandpa with admiration that after all of these years, he opened himself like a child to his deepest feelings of love.

Anyway, I have been thinking of him and of family a lot this week. I hope you are well Alisa. Much love, emilie

Doc said...

One of my all time favorite memories with Grandpa is the time when we were on the church history family reunion and the collective tires on the caravan were falling prey to the sharp rocks on the road to and from rocky ridge.

Me, Kent, Uncle Rob and Grandpa were left behind to try to get a truck and minivan out to catch up with the family again - only the truck wouldn't start, the van was on its donut spare and normal tires were only lasting about 100 yards for us, so we were in quite the dilemma. There may have been some recollections of Grandpa's hometown and then he suggested that we take all of the tires off the truck for spares in the van, leave the truck on blocks, rip off the license plate and scratch off the VIN and see if we could get out of there.

"You're not going to believe this"
"You found the bolt!?"
"No - you've got another flat tire"

We eventually made it out and to a hotel but Grandpa kept us in stitches the whole time.

Karlet said...

Grandpa might be the funniest person I know. The classic quote that he uses on a daily basis: "I've never met a calorie I didn't like!"

Shellie Gossling said...

We love Grandpa Johnson... I was over at my parents' house last night and one of Grandpa's stories came up and I couldn't stop laughing. He is such a wonderful guy and we will all miss him.

We love you Alisa and are praying for you! Philip and I are trying to come out to Utah at the same time my parents are this summer to visit Grandpa and we would love to see you too. Lots of hugs!

Markemilius said...

For the past 8 or 9 years I don't think I have ever once talked to him without the mention of a loan that got started when I told him I had 100$. I have been the secretary of the treasury for the last 5 or 6 years and he has started using this new favorite phrase for the last year or so when I talk to him: "Give til it hurts."

Brad said...

This was a priceless post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for encouraging others to reflect on what their Grandfather has meant to them.

Brad

Dabanana said...

Grandpas are the best.

M & M Brenchley family said...

Alisa,
It is fun to read about your grandpa. I have some special memories of your grandparents and spending a little time at their house. I remember your grandparents always making me feel special and welcome. What a wonderful man Vere is- my grandpa Charlie still talks of him often. Thanks for sharing. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.
Love,
Mandy

Eric & Emily said...

Alisa,

I have been at a loss for words almost every time reading your posts, for many reasons. Not knowing what to write in effort to comfort, not knowing where my place is as the distant cousin up in Cache Valley to express feelings towards the "Notorious Pink Lintons". How to add to the countless notions of love and prayers in your behalf? But after this last post of yours, I feel the need to share in your enjoyment that you expressed.

My favorite story with grandpa was a year or two before grandma had passed away. Grandma was sitting in her usual glider in the front room smiling as she always did, looking for any opportunity to praise someone or make your day go better. I was sitting on the couch next to Grandpa, when the phone rang. Grandpa picked it up. Here's what I heard from Grandpa's side of the conversation:

"Hello? Well hello! How are you? It is so wonderful to hear from you! Well, Winnie will be so glad to hear you called, here, let me get her for you!"

He hands the phone to Grandma, and she starts to talk to whoever it was as I ask Grandpa, "Who is it?"
(I'm laughing hysterically right now as I type this)

He looks at me with a look of confusion, shrugging his shoulders and says, "I have no idea!" Then he gives me that huge open mouth smile with the long drawn out loud laughter, almost as though he is anticipating your laughter to join in. You know exactly what smile I'm talking about for those of you who know him. So of course I join in and he and I laugh, all the while sweet Grandma is carrying on a friendly conversation with whoever it is.

Then when Grandma finishes the conversation and hangs up, she gives Grandpa that look of disgust and says, "Now Vere, why did you do that?!"
Grandpa- "What?"
Grandma- "That was ___________ (I don't know the name) your friend from dental school calling to talk to YOU! And you hand the phone over to me and expect me to talk to him? He didn't call to talk to me. He called to talk to you. We barely even know each other! "
Grandpa- "Well- how was I supposed to know who it was?"
He then gave me that open mouth smile again, and the three of us laughed for a good long while.

Alisa. I absolutely love your posts. Your teachings motivate us all to be better and try harder and appreciate more. Thank you.

Reading them has often caused me to ponder of the many fond memories of our good times when we were younger. In particular: Disneyland trip with Jeff and Mom, staying at your house in Sandy, going up on the roof and talking about "Schmear on baby! Schmear on!" Teasing you about, "Sir Josh Phantom, the Notorious Pink Linton."

Your family is wonderful and blessed to have you as mom and wife.

Just in case you were not aware, Emily and I just had another baby, Lydia Emily Stauffer was born Feb. 1. So now there's one more Stauffer to add to Jenny, Paul, Emily and I all praying for you and yours. We love you.

Sincerely,
Eric

Sonja said...

I've started and stopped about 10 stories, and I'll share another if I have time.

One that sticks out happened when we lived with Grandpa and Grandma for a while. Steven was 18 months old and he liked to eat most anything and a lot of it. Grandpa would tease him that he had "that Blodgett appetite." (If you don't know my husband, he's rather thin and while he eats reasonable amounts of food--that's just it--he eats reasonable amounts of food.)

One day Grandpa came home from the grocery store with two big bags of generic brand cheese puffs. He sat down for the noon news and ate an entire bag. When he got up and realized he's single-handedly eaten the whole bag, he commented that he wondered if that Blodgett appetite was wearing off on him!

mamabear said...

Thank you for inspiring we grandparents to leave legacies of love for our grandchildren.

Janice said...

Alisa,

I can't believe I'm responding to a blog. Emily had to walk me through the process. I'm too old for all this technology, but I had to join in the accolades of my dad. Life as his daughter has never been dull. There are so many stories I could share, but I decided to write something he said when he found out about your diagnosis. He expressed his concern and sorrow and then said, "You know, Janice, what will be, will be. The future's not ours to see, do-si-do-si-do." (I hope you remember the old Doris Day song.)

When I laughed, he asked if he had gotten it right. I said that it should have ended with 'Que sera sera'.

"Why, what's the difference?"

"Only that 'Que sera sera' means what will be will be, and do-si-do-si-do is part of a square dance."

Dad has never been good with lyrics or colors, but he doesn't seem to mind. You gotta love him!

Love, Aunt Janice

Julie said...

Alisa

Thanks for your thoughts about Grandpa. I remember in particular one drive I took with Grandpa from Janice's house up through Beaver Dam and then back to Providence. Grandpa had his truck and his cousin Russ with him and they were pulling one of Grandpa's horse trailers full of supplies for some project Grandpa was working on. I sat for a good two hours in that truck between the substantial corporeal self and Russ's slip of a self. I remember being fascinated with Russ's nose hair that curled around his nostrils and amazed that Grandpa could drive 45 miles without a thought all the way up I-15 to Brigham City. I love Grandpa's ease with people - I'm just thinking of his teeter-totter buddy from Nauvoo and so many others.

Dad said...

Grandpa used to buy his trucks at auctions from the forest service. He would bid and if he won the auction he would have to go to where ever the truck was and drive it home. They were usually located by Yellowstone or somewhere in Montana. I remember going with him at least once to drive one of the trucks home. On the way up we drove together and then each drove a truck home. He would whistle (he's a great whistler) and sing and make sounds like trombones or trumpets playing songs. He has a very good voice. He would also tell a few stories and tease. When he got tired I remember him slapping himself on the leg to stay awake.

The trucks were very plain. Who needs a radio, anyway? Dad would get them painted, usually white and I think the job was done by his blind body man from Garland. He would then put an Arabian Horse Association sticker on the truck and it was just like new in his eyes. I remember he won at least two trucks one time and a snow plow and I remember mom wondering what he was going to do with a snow plow (I think it was just a snow plow blade for the front of a big snow plow truck). I think uncle Hap ended up with one of the extra trucks he won on that bid.

I also remember how strong he was as a younger man. Many of the grandchildren don't remember him when he had all his strength. I remember watching him work with a new colt trying to get it used to being around him. He would take the colt in a corral away from it's mother and just gently try to get close to it. I remember him picking up a colt in his arms to help it get used to being around him. I remember being impressed that my dad could pick up a horse!

josh and rach said...

Alisa,

You probably don't know me but I went to Jordan with you. You served on seminary council the year before I did. I served with your brother Jon. I found you through my friend Kelli Proctor. My heart goes out to you and your family for all you are going through. And our prayers are with you.

I am actually also wondering if there is a way you could e-mail me Jon's e-mail. We are having our 10 year reunion this year and wanted to get the council all back together again. I totally understand if you want to check with him first before doing so. My name (was) is Rachel Francom. My e-mail is rach1113@yahoo.com

Thank you so much and take care!