One of my earliest memories of my grandfather was when I was no more than three years old, I was mad because it was raining and I couldn’t play outside on my swing set. He told me “you gotta put up with the rain if you want to see the rainbow.” He knew I loved rainbows so we just stood and watched it rain and sure enough there was a rainbow at the end. It was almost twenty-three years later that I found out that he stole that quote from Dolly Parton.
Memories like that are what we all have of my grandfather. He didn’t say much at times, but when he did it was to make a point, a joke, or just something he thought was funny and wanted to share it with someone. As a family, we started to call these grandpaisms and I would like to share a very small sample of them with you.
While holding baby Rose in his arms he said to her – “Use all you cuteness now because when you get older nobody is going to give a crap.”
A comment he made about people posting photos of food on bookface. Yes, that is what he called Facebook. – “Why do I want to see a picture of your food, I really don’t want to see a picture when it comes out.”
“John Grishman and Hugh Hefner are my favorite authors.” – On his love for reading all subjects.
A comment when watching the news. – “Donald Trump’s hair looks like a cat is laying on his head.”
“Pro wrestling is real end of story.”
When he was playing Angry birds – “What’s for dinner? It’s pork that’s what’s for dinner. Die Piggy, die.”
“Wine is fine, but beer is better!”
When asked what grandchild he likes the best – “Jeremy, granddaughters are too much work!” (Jeremy is the only grandson)
After we took him to Wisconsin Dells Deer Park . – “Why did we have to drive so far to feed deer, couldn’t we have done that in your backyard and it would have been free.”
“Is this some kind of kidnapping or am I allowed to know where we are going.” – When we were surprising him and taking him to a new restaurant.
To a lady, that didn’t understand how to use a roundabout. –
“If you don’t know where you are going, you should have stayed home.”
And a family favorite
In the heat of road rage – “Take a chance Columbus did.”
On one of the last visits I had with him he said “Amber, I want you to write something like you did for grandma’s service. And if you don’t I will find your cat Tigger in heaven and we will both haunt you until your last day on earth.
So everyone you are my witnesses that I’m fulfilling a last wish for my gramps. Seriously don’t haunt me.
That’s just like him to find the humor in a serious situation.
My grandfather did many things in his lifetime and lived in many different places; when he first met my grandmother he was working road construction. But most of us remember him as the Director of Dietary Services at UW Hospital. He was a cancer survivor and one of the most patriotic people I have ever met or know. He had no problem standing up to people that disrespected the flag. And In a few cases educated them on the proper way to fold the flag. He is the one that taught me and helped me get a Girl Scout patch for it!
He served his country in the Army and fought in the Korean War, but he never bragged or really talked about it. I know he earned some medals but he wouldn’t go into detail about them. I really only know three things that he told me about his time serving in the army. First one is he doesn’t like Chinese food because he ate a lifetime of rice when he was over there.
Second is his favorite part of basic training was the obstacle course. (This came up when we were watching a war movie. – the movie was The Monuments Men to be exact)
And the third, thing was when he was on a plane over the ocean it had complete engine failer and they had to lighten the load to make sure they could land safely. They were throwing out everything that could find including their packs. They were able to land safely in Alaska, but Grandpa had the same uniform on for over a month. He mentioned the smell was something that he will never forget. I can only imagine.
You might not have known but he also walked at least a half a mile every day, Even when I was a kid, he would walk his cats on leashes up and down the sidewalk at their Arlington home. As a kid it was embarrassing, some of my friends would comment about it. But now it’s become a happy memory of him. He told me once that he finds peace on his walks along with spare change.
He also was an avid reader; he would read the newspaper every morning. He liked the actual paper over reading it online. He loved to garden he would always have a huge one and that didn’t change when he moved in with my dad and stepmom. He was an animal lover and his lap always had a pet sleeping on it. He loved playing cards and had an impressive hat collection. Many of them had a funny jokes or sayings on them. He would always make a grunting noise when he would sit down or get up. He never met a cookie that he didn’t like; the same goes for Cheesy Puffs. He would sing in the shower mostly Johnny Cash songs. He would do anything for his family, friends, and even strangers.
One time he picked up a hitchhiker and took him to McDonalds for a meal when I was along with him. I asked him after we dropped the guy off. “Why did you pick him up?” He was quite for some time and then he said “Everybody needs a helping hand now and then. Giving him a ride and a meal was the least that I could do.” “Where you scared that he would pull something?” I asked. “Not at all, but let’s not tell your dad, stepmom and especial your mom that I picked him up with you in the car, She would kill me, ” he said and smiled back at me.
Martin John Sr. Tyler was a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather and a friend and he will be greatly missed.
On the morning that he passed away it was raining really hard and in fact, woke me up. When we got the call I couldn’t go back to sleep so I just watched it rain just like I did when I was three years old. Later that day when it stopped raining what did I see? …. But a rainbow.