Happy Grandparents’ Day.
By the time I was 16, all of my grandparents had passed on.
My Grandpa Higgins died when I was about 15 months old in October of 1953. He grew his own, chewed his own, brewed his own, and drank his own. He lived to be 85.
My Mother’s Mom died in April of 1966, I was fourteen. While we were at her visitation, my Dad’s sister, Annette, called to tell him that their mother had died as well.
Two grandmothers gone in three short days.
Our trip was extended so we could bury her as well.
I was left with one grandparent. Grandpa Brads.
From the time we moved to Ohio on New Year’s Eve of 1957, we went back to Virginia every Christmas. On December 15, 1967, the Silver Bridge connecting Gallipolis, Ohio and Point Pleasant, WVA fell into the Ohio River killing 46 people, two of whom were never found.
That was the first time we didn’t go “home” for Christmas. Dad hadn’t found another route, and he wasn’t in the mood to make a long arduous trip more so by going around his ‘arse to reach his elbow.”
We made the trip that summer as we always did, going all the way to Ironton to cross the Ohio River into West Virginia.
The trip was over mountain after mountain, UP and down, two lane, getting stuck behind semi trucks, and inhaling diesel fuel for miles when you did. The new route was worse than the old one, and the Silver Memorial Bridge wasn’t completed.
We skipped the Christmas trip that year as well.
Grandpa Brads died in January of 1969.
So, if you’re lucky enough to have your Grandpa or Grandma these days, call them, go see them, give them a hug.
You never know when you’ll be able to bridge that gap again, or for how long.