June 2, 2008

Grandpa Johnson

My Grandpa Johnson died this week. I flew to Utah on Thursday to be with my family for the funeral. It was aching to hear my Dad on the phone - the mourning and anguish in his voice when he told me the news. And then it was painful to understand that this wonderful, jovial man, my Grandfather, was gone from the earth - with his booming voice and laugh and ceaseless smile.

My Grandpa loved to tell stories and his funeral was a joyous account of his life and his tales. His 8 children, and most of his 55 grandchildren and 46 great-grandchildren were there to express their love and memory of his life. His positivity, his endless ability to laugh and spread his humor were there - we basked in it and celebrated him.

I remember being a little girl (like the picture above) and being teased endlessly by my Grandpa. Not in a torturing way - just in a way that made me feel like I was really important to him - like all that attention was mine because he loved me. He made up a game for me, where his fingers would be stuck together with 'us glue' - I was the only one who could get them apart for him. That is what I am doing up there - unsticking his fingers.

This weekend, we spent time sitting around enjoying each other as a large extended family and soaking up the places where my Grandparents had created so many memories for each of us. We drove to my Grandpa's horse farm in Nibley, Utah where he raised Arabian horses for most of his life. My Dad and his siblings sorted through all of the things my Grandpa had collected and saved - books, trunks, cowboy hats and boots. He was there in all of the remnants. In the funny way that he put thick rings of masking tape around big fat files that were falling apart. In the way he rigged up his couch to be raised just to the right height for sitting on. In the way he kept and continued to drive a big old Lincoln Towncar from 1988 as if it were a gem. In the way he had endlessly documented and recounted my Grandma's life and memory after she died. In the way every person there had a specific story about my Grandpa that made them smile and laugh to themselves.


Brad said...

Great Post. Thanks for capturing my Dad and your feelings. I love reading your blog.


Jon Paul said...

Emilie, I'm glad I found your blog. I agree with everything you said about Grandpa. It was great to see you guys at the funeral.

Julie said...

Emilie - I love all the details. It was so wonderful to see you there. Joyce already misses you. She's totally bored without you around. I love you.

Anonymous said...

hey, I'm sorry about your grandfather. lovely tribute to him, this post.

D1Warbler said...

I remember his Arabian horse farm in Nibley, which we were acquainted with long before we met your family. It was (is) a beautiful farm.

Your grandfather was cool!

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