Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Grandpa

This is my sweet Grandpa, Don Black, with my lovely Grandmother, Wanda Hunt Black, aka Wannie.  My Grandpa passed away two Novembers ago.  November of 2010.  Lucky for me, I got to visit him a month or two before he passed away.  And even luckier for me, I got to take this beautiful picture of my Grandparents to keep and treasure forever.
They same time heals your heart--which I believe to an extent.  I have had close loved ones pass away.  My wonderful Aunt Heidi, my sweet Nephew Kolby, my adventurous and crazy Great Grandma Pete (Peterson), my Great Grandma Graves, my Great Grandma Black to name the ones I remember.  But there's something different about losing a Grandparent.  One who I have zillions of memories of and with.     One who has shared so much of his life with me.  It still hurts.  I miss him dearly and honestly think of him almost every day.  I dread the day I lose my other grandparents, my parents, my siblings, my husband, my children--who knows the order of who goes when.  But I don't look forward to it in the least.

My Grandfather was a fountain of knowledge.  He loved politics, reading the newspaper, watching the news (The O'Reilly Factor and Glen Beck are people who really sticks out to me right now), and reading biographies and historical books.

My Grandfather was a fabulous advice giver.  But only when you asked for it.  He didn't push, he didn't insert his own opinions until permissions was granted.  He gave me my first loan.  It was for a $2000 car and charged me 1% interest rate to teach me how it all worked.  What a great teacher he was!

My Grandfather was a lover of Southern Utah--the red rock country, rock hunting and collecting, four-wheeling, exploring, boating, hiking, climbing, discovering and camping.

My Grandfather loved to play cards.  Hand and Foot and Crazy Sevens were his latest card playing games, and I LOVED playing with him.

My Grandpa knew every nook and cranny on Lake Powell.  I have so many memories of Lake Powell trips with my grandparents.  Our day trips involved hiking up beautiful canyons.  Some dry, some filled with water and occasional small waterfalls.  Dark Canyon was my favorite.  I don't even know if it exists anymore.  We also hiked to an arch, and another time to an Indian ruin.  I caught tiny little frogs in cups, built sand castles, slid down slippery rocks on my bare bum, and looked for the "tiny people" whose clothes we found washed up on the beach!  We cliff jumped, we skied, we tubed, and we even banana boated (I believe my parents broke ribs on that thing!) We would park the boat in shady coves on hot summer days and eat sandwiches, grapes, chips and soda, then play cards (of course!) And don't forget the Pecan Sandies and Fig Newtons for dessert!  We kids would swim in the cove.  I loved to put on my goggles and look at all the wonderful things you can see in a lake (ha!).  I liked to blow up the floating devices and play on those.  I also liked to tie a hook on a shoe string, attach cheese to the hook and catch those carp.  (Ewwww!)  Grandpa let me drive the boat.  I thought he must really trust me to let me drive it!  He and Wannie would sleep on the boat and the rest of us would set up beds on the beach.  Luckily I never met any scorpions.  I do remember occasional times when they let me sleep on the boat with them.   And in the mornings I'd take a cool bath in the lake.  Oh how I miss the old Lake Powell.  It has changed so much since I was young.  I know my Grandparents felt the same way.

Being a native from Blanding, Utah, my Grandfather was very well-versed in that country.  He knew the way to every Indian ruin.  In fact, he even discovered a few on his own before they were ever made known to the public.  When Richie and I first got married, my Grandparents took us on an amazing trip to  Blanding.  We spent two or three full days four wheeling all over the place--seeing arches, ruins, and beautiful red rock country.  Richie had never done anything like that so he thought it was super cool.  I was so proud of my Grandpa for knowing so much--where to go, what to see...

With my Grandpa's passing I feel like I have lost the opportunities of experiencing south-eastern Utah and Lake Powell the way I did with my Grandpa.  I don't think there is anyone else who knows as much about that area as he did.  I'm incredibly grateful and happy that I have the memories I do with him.  I'm also very sad that my children will never taste it the way I did.

Now I'm going to include some pictures of my Grandfather's childhood and growing up.  I can't tell you how many stories my Grandpa told me about his childhood.  He usually told the funny stories of things that happened to him, or naughty things he did.  He was laugh so hard--I loved it!

Like I said, I miss my Grandpa "Pop Pop" dearly, and get teary-eyed often over him not being in my life anymore.  For now anyways.  I do believe that his spirit lives on and that I will be able to see him and be reunited with him again someday.  I know this because of my belief in my Heavenly Father's Plan of Happines.  Click on that link to learn what I believe.  It is explained very well.