Milo got to spend a lot of time with my grandfather on our Florida trip. Grandpa Kauffman is my father’s father. We grew up living on the tree farm that he owned and operated, so we saw him often. He always had cookies and powdered iced tea mix in the nursery office down the road from our house, and Big Red (“picky gum”) in the glove box of his farm jeep. After my dad died, he came to the house everyday to drive me the 1/4 mile down to the bus stop. When we moved to Massachusetts, he moved into the house we had built as a family and kept the homestead going.
He retired about five years ago and moved down to Florida a few years after that. My mom and two of my sisters are there year round, as well as my uncle and his family. Grandpa has been spending time with family, volunteering at the hospital, joined the Rotary club (after leaving his Pennsylvania branch), and met a lovely lady that he has been spending quite a bit of time with.
Grandpa has been dealing with a brain tumor for a little more than a month, and wasn’t feeling himself for a bit before that. For an 84-year-old man who has been keeping everything around him running smoothly for his entire life, it’s been difficult for him to deal with a loss of independence and getting out much less than ever before. Still, I’m so glad that we were able to spend time with Grandpa; he gave plenty of love to his granddaughters and his great grandson.
Of course, I’m kicking myself for not spending more time with him when he was feeling well. I should have made one more trip, one more call. Asked him more stories about his post-high school cross-country trip with good friends, where they crashed in a California boarding house and slept alternating shifts while doing factory work. Taken a few more pictures. He’s a photogenic guy, and there are some good ones.
I love you, Grandpa! Thanks for having us all over and sharing your fruit with Milo. Until next time, xoxo.