When I was 7 my Grandfather, Donald Moore, WWII vet, painter and all around great guy fell while he was at work and died. My memories of him are fleeting, I was just a kid and in some ways I think his passing was a kind of seminal moment in my life. Memories after that are much clearer than before, in fact some of my most distinct memories from childhood are of the time around his death and the vacation we made to Las Vegas to see my Grandmother’s sister Wanda not long afterward.
One of the few memories of him that still exist for me is of a diner. One day he and I took a trip. I vaguely remember his truck, an old crew cab chevy at the time. I don’t recall where we were going or what we were doing, but I remember we were north of Greeley on Highway 85 and we stopped for lunch at a diner. The diner was in the Lucerne area, possibly what much later became Doug Kershaw’s Bayou House (if anyone knows about a restaurant in the area in the late 70’s, please comment). I think we had a bowl of vegetable soup, and I think it may be the only time to date that I have sat at a lunch counter.
I don’t know what we did that day beside that, but I know that do my essay a chance to eat out back then was a treat and was burned solidly into my mind. There are other stories about him that I don’t personally recall. I know he snuck me into the hospital to see my sister when she was born. I was 4 and at the time and kids weren’t allowed in the hospital. There was another time that he brought me a used bicycle he had found somewhere. There was something wrong with it and the wheels wouldn’t hardly turn and we lived on a farm, so it didn’t work well in the dirt, but his heart was in the right place.
I think about him a lot, it’s one of the things that inspires me to be a good uncle to my niece and nephew. I regret all the fishing trips we didn’t take, all the war stories I never heard and everything I didn’t learn from the man because he wasn’t able to be here for my childhood.