A Reverent Tribute to My Father  

Posted by Linda Keilbart Scanlan in , , , , ,

"The Great and Dreadful Trip to Disneyland

Memories of Grandpa always started in the morning and worked their way through the day. Coffee; just the word conjures up images of the jolly, old man I know as Grandpa. Coffee leads to images of breakfast. Not just any breakfast, but a full concourse of food. Proteins, carbohydrates, fruits and sugars were on the menu when he came to visit. Images of old cars, peacocks and auctions added to the uniqueness of this man. How then did I not cry when he died?

The end began with a trip to Disneyland. The anticipation of the trip mounted as each week went creeping by. This rare occasion of a family vacation was courtesy of my sister Jennifer. Her financial windfall paid for the trip. The timing of the trip was courtesy of my cousin Barney. He was getting married.

A two night stay in Las Vegas wasn’t necessarily the happiest moment of the trip. The heat was producing its own sweat. It lay heavy, smothering all foreigners.

The lights of Las Vegas were nice the first time I saw them, but it got old really fast. Eating out at restaurants is very high on my list of pet peeves. Las Vegas had buffets. The buffets were located inside the casinos. The casinos were brightly lit 24/7 with neon lights. Glitz is nice for the occasional festivity. How could someone live in glitz all the time?

The wedding itself was bearable, but only barely. The wedding was held in an upper room of a bar. The scenic over view was on an open patio. The misting fans were of little comfort.

The theme of the wedding/reception was the roaring twenties. The groom and groomsmen were dressed as mafia. The bride and her maids were flappers. The crowd was mixed with jean and T-shirt well wishers, along with the well dressed family members. The Word of Wisdom was hidden behind society’s alcoholic vices.

Add all of these ingredients, mix well and come out of Las Vegas with a troubled stomach and a headache. The escape from such a different environment was greeted with new books from Barnes and Noble. A smile was now firmly on my face as we left the City of Lights and headed towards Las Angeles.

Las Angeles was a different creature from either Rigby or Las Vegas. We stayed with a friend of the family named Kathy. Her one bedroom apartment somehow fit our party of four and her household of two. Cramped it may have been, but the comfort of a home was nice.

Her hospitality reminded me of my Grandpa as she offered eggs, toast, cereal, scones and fruit for breakfast. She gave the kids full control of the remote. Beds were made up on the floor at night and taken up in the morning. Homemade curtains and second hand furniture completed the comfortable atmosphere of her home.

Finally the day I had anticipated for months, dawned ever so casually in the California sky. Cloud cover made the weather perfect. The sea breeze made me forget all about the scorching Nevada desert we had left the day before.

Arriving at the magical land of amusement, which was once only a dream in the mind of its creator, we were pleasantly surprised. Disneyland offered a free three day pass to American vets. Mom qualified. The dependents of the vet received discounted three day passes. Jenn’s financial savings were over three hundred dollars.

I wanted the first stop to be in Adventure Land. The “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride called to me in the steady beating of my heart. My heart burned as if I were truly a descendant of Jack Sparrow.

Alas, it was not to be so. After all my sister was paying for this trip and her heart was as light as the blue birds that accompanied Cinderella, so Fantasy Land was our first stop.

Roller coasters and water rides filled our morning. Our minds were focused on the next area of excitement. The lines were of no consequence since Mom was our ticket to the head of the line for every ride. We had finally found a good use for her physical ailments!

The day past swiftly. We hesitated when buying souvenirs. We still had two more days of adventure to figure out what we wanted. Little did we know that night, our window of opportunity closed as we walked out of the park.

Our group made its way back to our home away from home, crashing instantly when we hit the beds. We dreamed of the joy and fun we had experienced that day; waiting for yet another to come.

Chinatown was the adventure for the new day. This was a new cultural experience for me. The closest I had ever gotten to China was at a restaurant. I saw in movies how the Chinese in Chinatown always said “one dollar” or “five dollar”; I thought that it was a bunch of bologna. Lo and behold Hollywood does not exaggerate everything; the Chinese there indeed speak in that manner.

We were walking down the street taking everything in when we decided that we would go into one store. As we meandered through the store we discovered a “back room”. To our disbelief the back room turned out to be a bazaar which covered the entire block. We walked in fascination as one stall after another appeared before us. It was like a maze. We almost got lost, but who can really get lost when we’re talking about a one block area? Clothes were bought at low prices. After much walking and shopping we decided it was time to head back home. It still boggles my mind when I think we spent half a day shopping and only covered one block. Grandpa would have had a blast there.

We dropped Kathy off at her place and headed for Jack’s cousin’s house. We planned on staying the night in a motel and leave the next day. Dinner was at their house. They had no kids at home so I just read my book.

When I reached the end of my book we got the call. It seemed like fate. Grandpa had passed away. I didn’t cry. Maybe somehow I knew it was going to happen. Maybe I just thought it was time.

There would not be another day at Disneyland. The excitement and anticipation now slipped quietly away; a natural reverence for a man who had brought so much amusement and joy into my life.

It’s been four months since Grandpa died. I still haven’t cried. I’m not sad. I don’t think my grandpa would want me to be sad. Even now, when I think of him, I smell the faintest scent of coffee, almost as if he’s right here with me. "

This was written by my daughter as a class assignment. What a beautiful, reverent tribute to her grandfather.

My father died from complications of diabetes which was contracted from exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. His last day on earth was spent fully serving others. Planting vegetables ina garden for his wife, driving the elderly to a doctors appointment (he was 72 when he died) and was in the process of checking on a sick member of his church when he had a massive heart attack and died.

His life wasn't always so pure and devoted, but his true conversion to Jesus Christ is an example for us all. When he learned a principle or concept about Christs doctrine he would implement into his own life. He shared his thoughts and reasoning with his children. He was in short a good man.

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved by Linda S. Scanlan

This entry was posted on Friday, October 2, 2009 at Friday, October 02, 2009 and is filed under , , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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