And I miss him SO much. His birthday is coming up soon and I’ve been thinking a lot about him. He was a special man, he loved God and his family. This man was NEVER still, in fact the day he had a stroke he was out for a walk. Someone found him laying in the middle of the road. Most times you could find him riding his bike with the basket in the front, dumpster diving for cans or picking them up off the side of the road, (I was so embarrassed!!!)
Grandpa was a trooper. When I was very small, maybe 2 or 3, he was in a horrible accident that left 2nd and 3rd degree burns over most of his body. He was horribly scarred, his ears were burnt mostly off and I don’t think there was any skin left on his body that hadn’t been burned or used as donor tissue. Apparently this was scary but I never knew him any other way, he was just MY Grandpa.
Growing up he was the only stable male figure I had. He always wanted hugs and kisses, I always tried to get away, scrunch up my face and take it until he let go enough for me to wriggle away. What I wouldn’t do for one more hug from Grandpa. He always smelled like Campho Phenique and Prell. Looking back I guess the Campho Phenique this helped soothe his skin and the Prell kept the little hair he had left in place. These are smells that I still associate with safety and comfort.
Grandpa loved to eat but he had his funny quirks. Vinegar on canned spinach, garlic salt on bok-choy and dessert ALWAYS. I think he had dessert twice a day. Thankfully Grandma was a great cook and an even better pie maker.
Grandpa was a man of God and rarely a day went by that he wasn’t volunteering somewhere. If someone needed something fixed he was there, no questions asked. And he could fix just about anything although I think it was sometimes with duct tape or WD-40 and he was the Jerry Rig king.
Today this song popped up on Facebook. With tears streaming down my face I remembered all that he was to me and to my family. My youngest son never met Grandpa Hamm, I found out I was pregnant the same day he had his stroke, he passed away within a few short weeks, never coming back home. So when I hear this song I see my Grandpa triumphantly singing “Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art” as he enters Heaven’s Pearly Gates and into the the embrace of a loving God. The incredible pain he must have always been in for over 25 years, finally relieved.
I miss you Gramps and will see you again one day.