Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Excerpt: When Grandpa Knew Me

“Activity is the key to longevity.” That’s what my grandpa always said. Once, when I asked him what he meant, he smiled and told me his secret.

“The secret of life, kiddo, is staying busy. If you want to live to be a hundred, you can’t just sit around doing nothing when you could be doing something useful. Sitting turns good brains and strong bodies to mush. Activity is what keeps us young.” I could tell Grandpa believed it, so I believed it too.

Each time we were together, Grandpa reminded me of his secret. I never got tired of hearing it. It was like our own special rule – busy is better.

When I was five, Grandpa taught me how to ride a horse, and then we rode together. I always got to ride Grandpa’s horse, Fancy, because she was the best kid-horse. When I got bigger, I helped Grandpa haul hay and fix fences, and I always held the gate for him.

At my T-Ball games, it was always Grandpa who cheered the loudest. I could hear him from all the way out in right field. Then, after every game, we’d eat steak sandwiches together. I always ate mine with just ketchup. Grandpa said steak sandwiches are good for a person’s get-up-and-go.

In summertime we found sparkly mountain lakes together, and Grandpa taught me to fish. He said I was a super-quick learner, just like my mom. We always caught fish. Then, we cooked whatever we caught on the campfire Grandpa made for us. We ate them right there, sizzling hot and delicious.

After the first big winter snow, we piled into Grandpa’s Chevy truck and drove to the biggest and best snow-hill ever. Then, we spent all day sledding down that slippery giant. When we finally got to the bottom, Grandpa drove us back up to the top, because it was too far to walk – that’s how big the hill was. Sometimes we weren’t sure the truck would make it to the top, even with four-wheel drive, but Grandpa never doubted.

If the weather was bad outside, that didn’t stop me and Grandpa. We just played board games all day and ate lots of junk food, while Grandma pretended we were going to make ourselves sick. Grandpa said it’s a grandma’s job to act worried. I don’t think she was too worried, though, ‘cause she still made us oatmeal cookies - every time.

No matter what, Grandpa always had something for us to do. We never sat still for long before he’d say, “Well, activity is the key to longevity - so let’s get moving.” Then, we were up and busy again. But that was when Grandpa still knew me - before he started to forget.

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