That road you’re on —or— Ode to Grandpa Ryan

I didn’t get it before. I mean, I thought I did, but I didn’t.

I always thought I had a pretty tough life, growing up in suburban California—bored, sitting around waiting for something to do. Trapped in my own head, held back by what I thought I could and couldn’t do. But this last week in Texas taught me the exact opposite.

I have it really easy.

Case in point:

My 83 year old grandfather has a map full of push-pins in his old office-turned-lounge. Red means he spent a week in a location. Yellow means just a few days. Green means he stopped for lunch.

This map is loaded with push-pins. He’s, quite literally, been everywhere.

But now, sitting in his leathery-old office and plagued with Alzheimer’s, he will frequently point at his “map full of memories” and tell me a story.

Often it’s the same story with different details peppered throughout—it’s never a different story, but the story often evolves, adding new layers each time he tells it. Continue reading “That road you’re on —or— Ode to Grandpa Ryan”