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RIP, Grandpa

I just got the call that my grandpa passed away. He was the inspiration behind Grandpa Lou in my cozy mystery series and truly one of the most stand-up men I’ve ever known.

Unfortunately, real life is not as sunny and shiny as the world of a cozy mystery so my grandpa didn’t live in the mountains of Colorado anymore nor was he living next door to give me a hard time about my narrow-minded misconceptions of the world.

Sadly, I hadn’t seen him in years. My pup and I were able to visit with him and his lovely wife on our way back to Colorado seven years ago and it was a good visit. But he wasn’t up for travel anymore at that point so never made it here to visit me and I tend not to travel too much because of the pup so I never made it back to him.

I probably never said as much as I should’ve to him about how much he meant to me.

He didn’t have an easy life. And he certainly didn’t start off on the right side of the law. But the man I knew always had a good heart and a gentleness about him. He loved my grandma and was by her side until the day she passed.

He was a gifted craftsman, too. For thirty years I’ve had a cedar chest he made for his mother that’s a thing of beauty. While other furniture might’ve been left behind on various moves, that’s always been one of my most treasured pieces.

And I’m grateful to him for the years he and my grandma spent with us in Colorado helping my dad to run his often struggling sign business. Those were good years when they were with us. Eventually they had to move on to more steady work–he was a hard-rock miner most of his life–but I won’t forget the times we had.

We lost touch after my grandma and then my dad died. (18-year-old kids aren’t the best at keeping those ties alive, especially in those pre-internet days when you had to send letters or make expensive long-distance phone calls.) But thanks to the efforts of his new wife we were finally able to reconnect about a decade ago and spend those few days together.

I’m glad he was able to find love and family and a good home and that he lived his last days with someone who loved him by his side. He deserved that happiness. It was a good end for a good man who made the best of a tough start.

Love you, Grandpa.

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