My grandfather, Frank Skobel, died 3 years ago today. He was a loving, strong, and kind man who I miss very much. Here are some of my favorite memories of him:
- •His hugsThe first thing I did when I walked through the door of my grandparents house was walk into the living room, where he'd be sitting in "his" chair, watching the news or westerns. He'd always greet me with a big hug, the kind that last 3 full seconds and included a few big squeezes all while he said "hello, dollsy."
- •His gardenMy grandparents lived in a "patch," or a neighborhood made up of poor duplexes that used to be owned by other coal miners, like my pap. My Pap's garden was at top of the patch. He planted pumpkins for his grandkids every fall. He used to dry out his pumpkin seeds in the upstairs guest bedroom window to use for next year. 💕 he used to take me and my brothers up to the garden and while he'd tend to his plants, we'd throw rotten apples over the fence into the horse pasture. 😎
- •One of my earliest memories of him was the time when I was about 3, when he was babysitting me. He had to use the restroom and was afraid to let me out of his sight, so he carried me up the stairs with him, and sat me outside of the bathroom with strict instructions on not to walk down the steps without him, for fear of me falling down them.Shocker, I didn't listen, and while he was in the bathroom I TUMBLED down the stairs and hit my head off of the banister. I can still see him burst open the door of the bathroom and run down the stairs gently yelling at me about not listening to him.
- •His last Veteran's Day when it was just him and I in the living room.He was a Marine who fought in Iwo Jima in WWII. He never, ever, talked about the war. He didn't want to scare me or he didn't want to "bore" me with the details. But I wanted to know, so I asked, and he told me. I asked him if he was scared, & he said "boy, was I." I found out that night that he saw the iconic scene of the flag being raised on top of the mountain. Later that Veteran's day night he got a call from a local cash bash saying he won $2,000. I heard him singing from the other room ❤️
- •Riding around in the car with himIn his Crown Vic, or the "new" car, which I'm pretty sure was 20 years old, at least. He always had a cassette tape in playing polkas. I used to think that the music came from an actual band playing in the trunk.
- •Sitting next to him at younger cousins' birthday partiesWe were both bored out of our minds. I'd rather sit next to him and eat pizza and talk.
- •Dancing with himI'd dance with my feet on top of his feet. Apparently he loved to dance. 💕
- •When we were cleaning out his basement and my mom found a sack of feathers from probably 1970, and she was going to throw them away, and he wouldn't let her because he thought that they "were worth some good money."
- •Holding his hand at the hospital, and him mustering up the strength to give me, and my entire family, one last hug goodbye.
- •I miss you, Pappy. Love, your dollsy.