My grandfather likes to come off a little gruff sometimes, but he’s always been one of the most supportive people in my life. I remember as a child going over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for Sunday dinner. My grandfather patiently taught me how to play chess, and even let me win occasionally. To this day, I think of him when I see a chess board. Especially the small wood ones that can fold in half and store the pieces inside, just like the one we always used. Grandpa Jerry is the definition of a homebody, but whenever there was a birthday or a graduation or a holiday he always made sure he was there. By example, he taught me that family is important, and you make sure you are there for the important moment.
He also taught me that when you care about someone, you help them any way you can. I have seen him offer spare bedrooms to grandchildren that needed a place to stay for a while, pick up my brother from school every day for months, and take me out driving the day before my driving test just because I was nervous and wanted some extra practice. I’m sure I drove through an entire tank of gas practicing for that test, but he never said anything. He just let me drive around in his car and took me to lunch afterwards.
Ever since I was a little girl, we would run up to Grandpa’s front door, ring the bell and wait. After a few second we would hear him coming and he would put on a rough voice and say, “We don’t want any.” Maybe someone will read this and think, children don’t understand this kind of teasing. But we did. We would always laugh and say, “It’s us” and he would open the door and give us a big hug. Somehow even as a child I knew that “We don’t want any” meant “I love you.”