I met Pop about 20 years ago. He's my Gram's first cousin. My Great-Grandfather was the youngest of 12, Pop's dad was #7. He came to some family party or another. And then I started to see more and more of him around. I didn't realize anything serious was going on until the night he proposed. My Grandpa had been gone for 10 years at that point. I liked him and thought it was a good thing. They got married in my senior year of high school. I was 17.
I grew to love him and he loved me. I never once felt that he didn't include me in his list of grandchildren, it didn't matter that I wasn't one of "his", I was one of "his" nonetheless. He had a keen, naughty, and corny sense of humor. He also didn't like my step-mother and her kids and made (almost) no attempt to hide this dislike.
I'll always remember Margarita nights and that drinking them was my 18th birthday present. He loved my kids, he was frustrated by them (who isn't?), but he loved seeing them and playing with him. He was just as excited as my Gram was when they showed up. He loved his truck. Because of his pace-maker he'd lost his driving license for many years, then he finally got it back. He went right out an bought a pick-up truck because "I've always wanted one and I'm old, I'm buying one." He loved my Gram and made her happy the last 20 years. I think he was frustrated by her fear of flying because there were places he wanted to go (Australia) that you just couldn't drive to. You had to sit on him if you wanted to pay the check at a restaurant. You literally had to tell the waitress, "don't bring the check to that old man, bring it to me." And sometimes even then, he managed to catch the check. Although after several years of trying I finally managed to get the check once in Las Vegas, he was distracted by Ike and I took the opportunity to pay. Which really pissed him off. He had a great laugh and taught me to play dominoes.
I don't remember very much of my Grandpa Frank, as he died when I was just a bit older than Ike. But for the last 20 years I've been blessed to have my Papa Jim in my life. And I have been very glad, and very proud to introduce him to one and all as my Grandfather. I will miss him very much.
Ike and Pop, Easter 2003. Ike is 6 weeks old.