|Goodbye Grandpa Ken
My grandfather died this past weekend.
To attend the funeral I flew to Arkansas where he lived with his second wife who died a few years back. The journey to Mountain Home was long, stressful, and rather unpleasant. It took over 18 hours of traveling to finally arrive.
That's worth saying again. It took me over 18 hours to get there.
There were 6 hours of that time which I spent in the Kansas City Missouri airport because the ticket for a leg of my flight route was canceled.
No, I didn't say the flight was canceled. Read that again. I said that the ticket I bought and paid for was canceled.
So a wacky little company called Mesa Airlines was going to connect me to Harrison Arkansas, 30 minutes from where I was staying in Mountain Home. Instead they decided that they weren't going to fly me the 226 miles and they would keep my money anyway.
After complaining to the one woman at the airport who works for them, she agreed to give me a ticket on one of the other airlines to Little Rock which left 4 hours later. That meant my family picking me up from an airport 3 hours away. We didn't get to the house till 2am.
I grabbed a couple hours of sleep before waking up and getting dressed. I'm just thankful that I got there in time for the funeral.
My grandfather's passing was rather surprising and very sad. Deaths to me, whether expected or unexpected, are always extremely upsetting. In this case there was also a bittersweet quality about the occasion. On one hand was the loss of my grandfather. On the other hand, it gave me a chance to see everyone on my father's side of the family-- all those who live in Chicago, Phoenix, and other places, whom I rarely see anymore.
Being around that part of my family made me realize that I enjoy the company of those relatives. Sure, some of them are kooky, but I grew up with them. We're all that brand of crazy. We all went camping together quite often in Arkansas. It was the consensus that we'd all gone far too long without a family reunion. Hopefully we can do that early this summer.
One of the best parts of the trip was seeing my dad and younger brothers. I don't get to see those guys as often as I should. Not even as often as I'd like to-- and that could turn out to be a regret of mine if I don't act.
We all did a lot of driving during our time together. Since it had been so long since the whole family spent summers in Arkansas we took our own tour of the places we camped when we were younger.
All told I spent 26 hours at my grandfather's house before it was time to leave and head home. My dad, brothers, sister, and I drove back to Chicago. On the way we dropped off my sister to catch a flight from St. Louis to West Palm Beach. It was good to see the old arch again. After that we headed to the Midway airport in Chicago for my return flight to San Diego.
The ride to San Diego was quite painless, especially compared to my flights two days before. I'm sort of partial to Chicagans so it was nice to be on a plane with them. They are quite the attractive bunch. I'm just saying.
In the end, I have so many good memories of my grandfather. Not a single bad one exists. Maybe one day I'll open that part of my life up to the blog, but not tonight. Ken will be missed by me, my family, his friends, and all those he left behind.