I’m Going to Disney World! With gramps!

Gramps Laughs @ MeI woke up this morning pretty gosh darn golly gee happy like. In about 12 hours I will be on the Disney World property trying to stay calm for Blog Orlando tomorrow. While I am excited about helping organizer Josh Hallet with the last session tomorrow afternoon (read my post about the talk here), I am especially excited because I found out last night that my 90 year old grandfather will be joining me. He took me to Disney World the first time when I was about 4 or 5 with my mom and grandmother. Then my grandparents and I went to Epcot the year it opened together.

Given his age and recent ‘slowing down’, my guess is this is his last trip to Disney World, so it is extra special. I can hardly hold back the tears thinking about losing him at some point in the next decade. He is the only family I have left on this earth (no offense to my future in-laws, Kristie or ‘adopted Moms’, but it just isnt the same). Gramps has always been the father that I never had, teaching me to ride a bike, drive a car, paid for my college education and so much more. While my mom and grandmother was alive, we were never very close and he did not talk much. Since they passed away, we have become best friends – chatting regularly via phone and playing golf everytime I go to Florida (except this trip, though perhaps on TUE morning).

He still can’t say the words “I love you”, or “I am proud of you”, but his friends told me how he would beam telling them about what was going on in my life. Sadly, most of those friends are now passed too – he has outlived them all. He is such an amazing spirit and a great man who is loved by everyone who knows him. He is a great story teller (ask him about driving for some of the old Chicago gangsters in the 30’s). He deserves to be happy and I hope to continue to bring some sunshine into his life. If something happens between now and the wedding where he can’t make it, it will really make that a difficult day in some respects. While he refuses to fly because my uncle convinced him how horrible waiting in line is (like he has somewhere better to be), we are working on trying to get a chartered cruise or something to get him to Mexico.

Earlier, I was balling with sadness thinking about losing him – now I am crying with tears of joy thinking about how much fun we are going to have on Saturday at the Magic Kingdom. The one good part about him being older now is that we will need to get him a cart to ride around in (although his deep sense of pride will prevent him from enjoying it and indeed I will need to fight him to do it). Why is this good? Well, for starters he will be able to keep up with me, something he did quite well until the last few years. The other thing of course is that we get to go to the front of the line on most of the rides, so we will get to see a lot of stuff. I remember one of the trips we had there where he took me on Space Mountain. Grandma was so worried because of his bad back, but he had a blast.

I dont suspect he will be going on that roller coaster this time around, but we should be able to get him on some of the other ones. Regardless, it wlll be a really fun weekend and I am so happy to get him out of the house, even if only for a few days to see more of the world.

I am blessed in so many ways to have such a wonderful life, a wonderful fiancee and amazing friends and supporters, but I am truly blessed to still have him in my life and so excited about having this opportunity. I can say with 100% certainty that if I did not have him in my life, I would not even be close to where I am now, living such a happy and fulfilling life, doing what I love.  Now if I can only get him on a plane to show him how beautiful Lake Tahoe is…

  1. #1 by Kristie Wells - September 21st, 2006 at 09:50

    Gramps is a lovely man and a kind soul. And a very patient man too…I am sure teaching me how to golf was not easy. :()

    We never have enough time on this planet with the ones we love – whether they are 20 or 90. Just make the most of the time you do have with him and those memories will last a lifetime.


  2. #2 by Kristie Wells - September 21st, 2006 at 09:51

    P.S. I meant to make a smiley face but somehow it came back as a frown. Let’s try again… 🙂

  3. #3 by John Frost - September 25th, 2006 at 10:55

    Now that I’ve read this post I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to sit and talk with your granddad on Saturday. He is an amazing man.

    I hope your time spent at Walt Disney World was memorable and magical. I know my son and I had fun hanging out with the you and the BlogOrlando group.

    If you ever make it back out to WDW look us up!

    -John @
    The Disney Blog

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