My favorite story teller
I need to vent, and when I vent I usually like to write. So you all get to be the brunt of my vent.
First, this week we heard from OCS ( for the first time in forever) that Jo will be leaving us forever on July 19. This news came out of the blue and kind of took the wind out of our sails to start the week. If you don’t know, Jo has been our child since before her first birthday. In a couple weeks it will be her fourth birthday. Now they tell us she will no longer be our child. As you can imagine this has been an emotional nightmare for our entire family. We have been praying and praying and praying more for Jo to be with us, and right now we are in the 12th hour and barring a miracle, it does not look good. The last few years, our time with Jo has been an emotional bungee jump. I will not go into everything as I have bore my heart about her several times on this blog: That\’s what I (don\’t) love about Sunday & the one that started it all… At what cost. If you want to read the whole series, just click on JoJean in the category cloud to the right. Needless to say this has been like ripping our hearts out of our chest, and frankly I have been numb all week. Yet we have no choice but to be strong because we have 7 other kids that need us.
Then today at 3:05 Tracy calls me at work to let me know that my Grandpa just died. What? Is this some kind of joke? Now I must point out that my Grandpa has not been well for a while, but he was one tough hombre and every time we thought he may not make it, he pulled through and was sometimes better than before. Nonetheless, it hurts, and it hurts bad. I feel for my mom, my aunts and uncle and very much so for my Grandma, and for our family. I spent a lot of time with my Grandpa growing up. He taught me so much without trying. He taught me work ethic, perseverance, strength, fire and desire, he was instrumental in teaching me how to be a man. Something that a lot of this society now lacks. He didn’t set out to “teach” me these lessons, he was just himself.
I commercial fished with Grandpa since I was about 5 years old. I spent all my summers on boats out of Kodiak, and I took my first steps on one of his boats. I have so many memories, some hard, some bad, some tiring, but many great memories that are almost surreal. He showed me how to work a seine, how to drive a skiff, how to dig claims and fish for halibut. He showed me how to shoot deer, catch shrimp, carve, and much to my Grandma’s horror, how to chew snuff. I remember he used to smell like skoal and coffee as I sat on his lap on the flying bridge of his boat, just me and him traveling along somewhere away from anywhere, and I would revel in the smell. That smell was my Grandpa. It was with him I caught my first king salmon, my first halibut, drove my first boat, learned how to play cribbage and pinochle, all before the age of 10. All these things he did not set out to have me experience, I was just there, part of his life, and he was happy to have me there.
I have heard few better story tellers than my Grandpa. I am sure over the 10 or so summers I spent with him I heard all of his stories, and I would beg him over and over to tell me again. They were bigger than life, but all true. The details, until the day he died, they never changed, the names they were always the same. He could recall to the pound how much crab he had on board when it was rough that the waves took out his window. He could recall how much he got paid for loads of crab, and how he would get on Fish & Game’s case because they were wiping out the fishery. He could recall the looks on the face of the men in his stories, the crate of eggs the sea sick deckhnad sat on as Grandpa ate an egg sandwich in front of him for spite. And almost every story ended with laugh as he looked up into the sky, his piercing trademark blue eyes glistening with a slight tear; his mind back in his younger years and the multitude of adventures he had as a pioneer of the commercial fishery in this state. And I would be sitting on his lap or at his feet with smile as big as his in awe and wonder of such a man of strength and adventure.
I can probably write a book about my adventures with Grandpa & Grandma Gugel, but this is a blog not a book. Grandpa thank you for the stories, thank you for the lessons, thank you for the skills, thank you for the patience ( all though short at times, he was part German after all as he frequently reminded me) and all the experiences. But most of all thank you for being you and helping me to be the man I am today. You will always be a huge part of who I am and who I become and who my children become. You have left a great legacy. I know you are with God now telling him about the time you ate the maggot infested salmon; finishing, as always with ” and you know Glenn, that was the best smoked salmon we ever had”.