My favorite place as a child was when my grandparents and I would head out to Plymouth, Indiana and visit the tiny house. You see, the tiny house was my five year old way of describing the camper would visit that sat on a small piece of land and a few small lakes that were attached together.
It felt like I was traveling abroad when I would climb into the backseat of the Plymouth station wagon, with the wood panel finish, and roof racks to store all the weekend accessories. It was only about a two hour drive, but it felt like my family’s version of the Griswolds hitting the road to head to California theme park, Walley World. It was the absolute best of times.
I don’t want to bring down what should be a post filled with enjoyable memories and a bunch of other kumbaya feelings, but I feel this needs a to be said out of respect for the two people in my life that allowed me to use the word “family” with confidence and any semblance of dignity or normalcy.
Disclaimer: My parents were never there. My grandparents stepped up like any self respecting family member would do in their situation. They raised me. What little bit of time I got to spend with my grandfather felt like the winning lottery ticket. No disrespect to my grandmother, she was a saint as well, but the bond Howard and I had was that of father and son, and due to how little I was, I never got to realize that until after he passed away on February 28th, 1992. AKA, the worst day of my life. And if you could only understand the volumes that last sentence speaks. Gmamps, I love you more than any of these keystrokes could ever describe. I love you for the happiness you gave me and all the other life lessons you were able to instill in me in just ten years together, most of which I was too young to appreciate what was actually taking place. It is some real Houdini shit that I have been complimented on my respectful nature and upbringing, even without parents. You did that and I thank you. Respect is a crucial part of our time and culture that is absent these days in children and parents alike. I’m thankful I learned that lesson from your playbook. You were the epitome of respect, loyalty and kindness.
Back to the happy stuff, Grandma would get everything organized in the camper as Gramps and I unloaded the car. She would then make a quick lunch for us and then we were off to the lake for some fishing. I have a few photos of us in this small boa together just wasting the day away. One of which was of me rowing said boat with the two of us in it. I’m not sure, but I would wager that that breaks some kind of labor laws for a five year old to be rowing a boat while the 6’ 4” 250 man sat back casting a line, but I digress.
You know, when people talk about the good old days, this is where the dart lands for me. Right there in company with Howard.
This didn’t happen at the lake, but I distinctly remember nagging my father to play catch with me and him declining repeatedly. Not because he was busy, no, just for the simple fact that he never found me to be important enough as his friends or TV time. You would think having a kid would flip a switch in a man and help him gain some perspective about the things in life that were really important. Nope. Not this shit bag. He just kept on doing him without a care in the world. And now that I am an adult, I can realise that that was probably a blessing. After the initial trauma that you don’t have a dad wears off of course.
Full disclosure, I speak with my therapist 1-2 times a week and I had to give that up for this month to make this writing challenge happen time wise. I wake up at 4:10 am daily. I’m at work by 5:30 and get back on the highway until 3-4 ish daily. Add an hour drive home, and I only have a few hours until bedtime calls to eat, write, walk, and shower. My job is not strenuously difficult, but it is indeed stressful driving 400-500 miles a day. Also, I’m not afforded the luxury to be a little groggy because I stayed up later than I should have. Fully focused, or bad things can happen. I guess I’m taking my therapy session out on you guys tonight. Just leave an address in the comments to tell me where to send the co-pay checks.
In conclusion, The tiny house was my favorite place, spent with my favorite human and I wouldn’t trade that for anything, even a mother or father that gave a fuck. All I know now Is that I cannot wait to take the journey to discover where my new favorite place is. Hopefully with the company of a loved one, but if not, I know gramps will be there riding shotgun with me regardless. I don’t know any certainties of the afterlife, but I sure am glad I was able to spend a little of this one with you.