When i was young i was never a daddys girl nor yet a mummys girl like most children, right from the off i only had eyes for my paternal grandfather. To me he was grandad although to the world i know he was something else, which makes me sad for i would love to know the man he was and the life he lived.
But to me he was just grandad.
Memories of cuddles, cheek pressed against the scratchy wool of the waffle knit cardigans he wore as i sat cuddled up on his lap toying with the wood effect buttons that held it together. Never from Grandad came the scold not to pull at them because i would pull them off. No, never from him. Strange after all these years i remember his car so well, a bright yellow Hillman Hunter rapidly filled by my brother, sister and i as we piled into the back for another adventure with Grandad. ”come on then girls sing me a song” he would say and my sister and i would so happily oblige, squawking out our own rendition of Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs’ in the way that only children can. Grandad never cared if we were off key, i bet if you’d asked him back then he would confess he never noticed
Yes we loved to sing for Grandad but just as much we loved him to sing to us for he was funny in a way that tickled us immensely and always wise to when a little girl needed to smile. We would beg him to sing as he drove around the hills speeding up over them so that our tummies flew up into our mouths as we descended the other side and we would shriek with glee and beg for more. All things bright and beautiful, this was grandads song although i doubt the vicar ever heard it sung so in church. Every time he came to the word ALL it would be sung in a really high pitched voice totally out of character with the rest of the song and guaranteed to have us in fits of giggles and i confess to this day i cannot hear that song without hearing his rendition in my head.
Oh if there were ever a hero of any little girls childhood then my Grandad was mine, my refuge, my rock and the best man i have ever known. Never did i need to explain for he always knew and hindsight makes me wish i had told him so whilst he was alive. But something tells me that if he did not know it then he most definitely does now. Sadly my Grandad died when i was in my early teens and somehow i knew long before my parents told me that he was gone. I remember well the startled look on my parents faces as i blurted out ”Grandads dead isnt he” before they had even said a word. They consoled themselves that i had overheard but i hadn’t, some things you just know. I have but one photograph of my grandad and it hangs on my living room wall where he smiles his gentle smile down upon me. And i know he is there, smiling as my hand reaches for the Radox bath salts that i buy just because he did and i feel him nod his approval as he always did.
Yes my Grandad was the best of men and maybe someday i will find out his story and if i ever meet another someone i hope with all my heart that he is a man just like Grandpa.