Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My birthday buddy

Today would have been my Grandpa Kendel's 105th birthday. January 11th marked 30 years since he passed away. It's strange how time passes and suddenly catches us unaware.

My Grandpa Sawhill had died before I was born, so Grandpa Kendel was the only grandfather I had ever known; and that was for such a brief time. I turned 11 a couple of months after he died.

This picture is one of a handful in which we are celebrating our birthdays together. Mine being on March 24th and his on March 30th meant combined celebrations. That didn't get to happen in 1986.

I think of him often. More so now, I think, when I see my dad. My dad is "Grandpa Kendel" to my nieces and nephews. He has now lived to be older than his parents got to be. Again, the passage of time hits you hard.

Now I'm 41 and I've had many more years without my Grandpa than I did with him. It makes me sad sometimes when I try to remember him. It's like he has become a bit foggy in my mind. I try to think of his voice and I just can't get the sound right. I remember getting excited when he was going to be coming over. He was THE ONLY person I have ever known to smoke in our house. And, this meant getting out the ashtray to put by "his" chair in preparation of his arrival. Then, I would sit on his lap and he would let me "blow out" the flame on his lighter. To this day, when I smell Winston Lights, I think of him.

I learned about soft serve ice cream coming in a twist because of him. You would have thought he invented it with how fascinated I was by it. I ended up preferring chocolate on it's own when I grew up, but occasionally I can go for a twist in memory of him.

Thirty years is a long time to miss someone. I wonder what he would think of the world today. How would he feel about all that has changed in his beloved sport of baseball? What would he think of how we all turned out? What would he be like as a great-grandfather? Who would be sitting on his lap to "blow out" his lighter when he lit his cigarette? Heck, would that still be a thing he could get away with doing?

Lots of questions without answers. But, I have no doubt that I was loved and that I loved him.


  1. Indeed a very heart touching post! Thanks a lot for sharing it here. My birthday is coming next month and planning to host an indoor vintage party. Searching form some awesome event venues for vintage parties.

  2. He called me T.J. Last time I recall him leaving I told him I'd keep his chair warm. In 1st grade I remember finding out about his passing. Then I recall being in the middle of dad and Uncle Jimmy during the procession to the cemetery, I believe.