Growing up I didn't have a lot of contact with my father. My grandfather was the only real dedicated father figure I ever had during those years, but he really loved me. I never had any doubts about that. Always there for me, always encouraging, always happy to see me - to be a part of my life. He left his imprint and I am forever grateful.
My grandpa met my grandmother at a dance hall in their town. It was right before World War II. He used to watch her dance from the balcony and finally got up the courage to ask her. They married during the war on a weekend pass. He made it through the war and they went on to have four daughters. My mother was their second.
We saw each other regularly once I married and he loved my children every bit as much as he loved me. It was from him that I learned to cook a tasty beef roast, learned how to fry an egg to perfection, and drive a fast car. Every year on Veterans Day, I would call him and thank him for his service because I felt it was important to remember.
My grandpa died eight years ago. He left a void I imagine nothing will ever fill. I think of him regularly, but especially on Veterans Day. There is an ache in my throat and tears in my eyes and I don't post this looking for sympathy. I just wanted to honor a man I loved deeply on this day, when I can no longer do it in person.
Happy Veterans Day.