Today is a really hard day for me. March 5th. My Grandpa Neff would be 78 years old today, but he passed away 5 years ago, today, on his birthday.
I miss my Grandpa everyday, but on this day especially. I remember all the good times, and there were thousands. My Grandpa was so involved and I always looked forward to time with him, phone calls from him and family get togethers. I think about him every single day.
Some of you were lucky enough to meet my Grandpa, so you guys kind of understand, but those who didn't get to meet him, it's so hard to sit here and try to explain all the reasons I loved him and how deeply my heart aches because he is gone.
My Grandpa loved airplanes. I loved going to the airport with him to watch the planes take off, while eating foot-long hot dogs. He used to take me to Dunkin Donuts and I'd sit at the counter with him on the swivel chairs. He always came to my track meets, volleyball and softball games even though he was 2 hours away. He frequented a wonderful place called Stanich's, to eat one of the biggest burgers ever, topped with an egg, ham and all sorts of messy goodness. At other places, he loved ordering liver and onions, and I always gave him grief about that, teasing him relentlessly. When he'd come to Eugene to visit we'd go to a little diner, and he'd only go if Sean was cooking. Only Sean could cook his liver and onions the right way. Oh, and my Grandpa was a Ladies Man. He even had a crush on my school-bus driver in middle school, and yes, he did visit a bit more often on school days then!!
I had promised to make him liver and onions on his 73rd birthday, but never had the chance. That just kills me. He passed away at the same time I was getting in the car with my mom, sister and Trask to go up to see him. That kills me, too.
I remember all the good times, the fun times, and all the wonderful memories and I feel so blessed to be a part of the Neffendorf Family. So to honor him, today my family meets at Stanich's to have a huge burger. And we camp at Suttle Lake every Labor Day, a favorite camping spot Grandpa loved. We do all these things to hold on to a wonderful guy that left too soon. And he passed away on his birthday. This, strangely, makes me smile. He was just too stubborn to not make it to 73.
Grandpa, I miss you so very much. I'll be thinking about you today, as always. I miss our phone calls, the smell of your Paul Mitchell hairspray, your hugs, your jokes and just time with you. I miss you asking me who the heck Tom Green was. Please show me a bi-plane today, I could really use a smile. Happy Birthday, Grandpa.
Love you. Miss you. Always.