I mentioned yesterday that I left town for my grandfather's funeral. I had just been up there a couple of weeks before and was able to see him three times. He was my grandpa and he was a helluva a nice guy. One of my fondest memories of him is the day I was telling him about this Ty Cobb biography and he said off-handedly that he had seen Ty Cobb play. Not only that, he had seen just about every legendary Detroit Tiger player you could mention. He also said that the way he got into games was by helping to clean the stadium after a game and getting a pass for the next game.
A few memories of his funeral:
1) There were a lot of people crying at the funeral (of course) but what really brought the house down was the mention by the priest of Grandpa's previous dog, Checkers. Checkers was an amazing poodle mix that I used to walk before my mom moved back to Northern Michigan and Grandpa took possession of Checkers. Just a few months ago he got another dog. This dog has no idea how lucky he is. Grandpa was in the habit of outliving dogs.
2) It's a little odd to see again a roomful of people you haven't seen since the last family funeral in 1985 and many longer than that. I recognized a lot more people than recognized me. My mom had to keep saying, "You remember, little Eddie" and hold her hand down near her waist.
3) A cousin of mine was there with his kids and I was reminded of the two great-grandparent funerals I went to as a kid. I saw a mixture of sadness and bemusement among the youngsters.
4) The priest at one point referred to gramps as the patriarch of his family and I don't know if he knew how right he was. I know a lot of people went to him with troubles. Unfortunately I did not do this enough. Not really at all after I graduated high school.