Goodnight, old man

A bit of sad news at headquarters today: My grandfather died over the weekend. It wasn’t a surprise — his health had been failing for the last year or so, and everyone was preparing for the inevitable — but of course it’s still hard when it happens.

I’m flying down to the homestead in Lake Elsinore, Calif., for a few days. That’s where I grew up, and where my mom grew up, and where my late grandfather grew up (and where his father grew up). Grandpa was 81, had numerous children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and was for decades a fixture of Lake Elsinore’s downtown business district. Everyone knew ol’ John Merrifield, always willing to lend you a hand, do you a favor, or give you a loan. He was a terrible businessman but a great person. The people he personally helped over the years must number in the thousands.

So no “Snide Remarks” today. Some of the regularly scheduled merriment might also be forgone this week, what with the traveling and the mourning and such. Actually, no — not mourning. Grandpa lived a long, full life, was at peace with himself, and is certainly better off now than he was three days ago. We’re sorry to see him go, of course, but the family gathering will be to celebrate his life, not rend our clothes and weep and sit amongst the ashes, as productive as that sounds.

In the meantime, here’s a column I wrote back in 1998 after my grandmother died and Grandpa remarried. Grandpa would want you to enjoy it, and then possibly also to explain the jokes to him.

I love you, Grandpa!

Grandpa and my nephew, Logan, inspect one another earlier this year.
Grandpa and my nephew, Logan, inspect one another earlier this year.