October 8th, 2005
“Dad would have really enjoyed this.”
My uncle Ron said those words last Sunday, referring to my grandfather, who passed away earlier this year.
We were having a little family gathering, the first since the events surrounding Grandpa’s death.
We met as his old farmhouse, and then headed out to his creek. My dad already had a fire going — ready for the hot dogs and brats.
That creek, though it’s muddy and smelly at times, has a lot of fond memories for lots of my relatives.
For most of my childhood, uncle Ron lived in Indonesia. Every so often, his family would come back to the US for a few weeks. And just about every time he was in Kansas, he wanted to go camping by Grandpa’s creek.
He’d usually manage to gather a few people to go with him. Just who went would vary depending on schedules, but usually included my cousins (his children), my brothers, my dad, and Grandpa. We’d often go fishing in the creek as well.
At this point, I need to explain a small detail about that creek. It runs through the middle of a pasture. The kind that cattle live in. So, you have to be careful where you step. Also, you have to remember that you might be visited in the middle of the night.
My cousins, brothers, and I set up our sleeping bags on the bed of Grandpa’s pickup. I don’t remember where my uncle and my dad slept. Grandpa was the smartest one, though. He’d drive his car out to the creek, through the pasture, and spend the evening with us. Once it got dark and people were turning in, he’d drive back home for the night. And he’d be right back out there in the morning.
There was also an incident one time where I was fishing with my dad and my brothers, and I fell into the creek. But that’s a story for another day.
This week, my uncle was visiting, and the family got together out by the creek. Most of us hadn’t been there in a few years. It was a great time. We were probably there for four hours, despite the wind.
During a lull in the conversation, towards the end of the evening, my uncle remarked:
“Dad would have really enjoyed this.
But then, he probably is.”