When I was a kid, my grandparents on my dad’s side of the family moved to Florida. They first lived in Beverly Hill, and they then moved to The Villages, which you may be familiar with from their television ads featuring Robin Leach, of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” fame. I have many memories of visiting them in Florida, often with a trip to Disney World mixed in. In the beginning, we would spend one day at the Magic Kingdom during our trips to Florida. Later, after my other grandmother also moved to Florida, we would bookend a visit with her and a visit to The Villages with our Disney trips. The last time I was there was May of last year, and I kind of knew at the time that it might be the last time I saw my grandfather.
My grandfather, a WW II vet, father of three, grandfather of seven, and great-grandfather of ten, proud Texan, and avid golfer (for much of his retirement) passed away on Thursday. When I was a little girl, he always made me Shirley Temples and shared with us chips and French onion dip, Bugles, and crackers and cheese. He wouldn’t accompany us to Disney World or to the beach, but when my sister was too young to go along, he would stay at home with her so I could have some Florida fun. He taught me how to use a pitching wedge and chip a golf ball into a bucket in my parents backyard. He used to enjoy working in his yard and feeding the birds. He collected golf tees, and he always kept a clean garage. In the past year or so, Alzheimer’s disease had taken the personality of the grandfather I knew, but I will always remember the times we shared.