My grandfather passed away on February 12th, roughly 13 months after my grandmother. Grandma Martha had always been the peacekeeper and the glue that kept everyone together and Grandpa Radford, well, he was a character. In fact, if I had to pick a character that most would know of, it would be Foghorn J. Leghorn, that large, bossy rooster with a southern drawl from Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies, Looney Toons and Bugs Bunny and Friends. When I was a little child I was certain that they had based Foghorn on grandpa.
Grandpa Radford had this uncanny ability to be both infuriating and funny simultaneously but to me he was mostly funny. His antics are legendary because all of his grandchildren and great grandchildren have regaled their friends, their classmates and basically anyone who would listen with tall tales that made Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe seem like a Sunday School lesson. If a moment was too tense…telling a story about grandpa not only put everyone at ease but had them laughing so hard they forgot they were even angry. If inclement weather had you stranded and scared, you could always keep a crowd entertained and calm with a grandpa story. He was my favorite subject for a speech in class and always guaranteed an A.
I had a friend ask me once if my grandfather would mind me telling these stories about him. I had never even considered that he might. Grandpa loved to make people laugh. He loved to tell stories and he was adept at quick, witty responses. I took my friend with me on one of our summer vacations to the cabin with Grandma and Grandpa. She never asked me the question again and after that trip she had her own stories to tell…and tell them she did. I imagine that his service, like that of my Grandma’s, will be standing room only and I can only imagine the stories that will be told…
I am going to miss you Grandpa but I am glad that you lived a life that left everyone you met with one heck of a story to tell.