|Jack in his younger days|
Gary's dad, Jack, boldly made that proclamation back in August. We were rather shocked to find his house in such disrepair, piles of accumulated trash, (most of which were empty ice cream containers), everywhere. Neglected bills hid under the rubble. His neighbors across the street said his decline from ambitious living to hesitant toddling was rapid. It was obvious the time was right to make the move. We packed what we could fit in the trailer and headed back west, leaving for another day the huge task of cleaning out a house and garage filled to overflowing from thirty plus years of accumulated auction finds.
|Addy (2) and Great PopPop (92) chat|
Great PopPop, as Addyson called him, had an instant impact on our daily lives. At 92, he seemed a bit invigorated by the move. Even as we unloaded the trailer, Seth looked up to see Grandpa barrelling down the hill on his bicycle, both legs spread outward, resembling an ancient PeeWee Herman.Wheeeee! Not too long after his motorcycle was rolled off the truck, I looked out the kitchen window to see him cruising across the yard on his two-wheeled chariot. Oh, boy. This was gonna be a brave new world--for all of us.
|Sept 2017 dove hunt|
|Addy and Great PopPop|
Wanting to give him an outlet for his decreasing mobility and balance, we got Dad a Kubota RTV to drive around the farm. Along with that, we ordered five extra keys. Grandpa got into the habit of slipping the keys into a pocket or selecting a hiding spot. He
In his younger years, Jack used to be--well, opinionated. Conspiracy theories, doctor ineptness, and politician antics were topics to avoid when he was around. But now, as the growing dementia smoothed out the jagged edges of criticism, his demeanor became kinder and gentler, gracious and thankful. And his humor? Oh, how he liked to laugh!
Ever see the Dominoes commercial where the guy pulls into his icy driveway, a tree falls onto his car, and then, pizza in hand, he goes topsy-turvey into the air, the pizza splattering across the snow? Dad belly laughed each and every time the commercial came on. We laughed at him laughing, grateful that his dwindling memory made even the most repetitive things funny and new.
Or how about the oft-played Alka-Seltzer Plus commercial? This one shows a woman driving along, miserable with a terrible cold. The camera pans out to show she had left her bag of groceries on the roof of her car. Of course, the bag tumbles onto the road, contents sprawling everywhere. One day, Grandpa's commentary to his care-taker and companion was this: "That woman is so stupid! She does that several times a day!" How could we not laugh at that?
|Circa '44. Jack flew, but not at Pearl Harbor|
Of course, there were a million other entertaining stories, proclamations that he owned our house and all the motorcycles, nighttime forages for food, and the rapid decline in reasoning. It was hard to be patient and loving at times, frustrated with this extra adult in the house who required such help and understanding. Every aspect of our lives revolved around him, making change after change as required. I would be a liar to say it was easy.
|Hunting at age 85|
|1993 road trip, Jack and Gary|
Well done, good and faithful servant. You followed the yellow lines home to the streets of gold.
Jack Harold Trittipoe June 22. 1925 to April 24, 2018