Yesterday marked the 9 year anniversary that my grandfather died. People who know me know how incredibly important he was to me. The last 9 years have been rough ones. I remember the first year or so, I felt like I lost the only person who truly believed in me and understood me. That of course was the opinions of a 16 year old kid with self-esteem issues; at 24 (soon to be 25) I've noticed how wrong I am.
I have family that supports me as well as Friends that know me better than I know myself. I enjoy the work I do (except for the work I get paid to do haha) and I'm finally attempting to follow my dream after 6 years of just SAYING I was going to do it. Every single day I'm hit with something that makes me go "I really wish he was here right now". But I don't want to thing of the bad times when I need him most, I want to think of the great things he meant to me.
I still have the cassette tape he made for me of Spike Jones, Stan Freberg and Benny Bar songs. It was Grandpop that sparked the creative spirits in me. He gave me a sense of comedic timing in those old tapes, he gave me a love of music as a form of comedy, something I still use in Saint Mort. While it's obvious that "Weird Al" Yankovic and Flight of the Conchords are influences, I've probably listened to Spike Jones' discography more than any of those artists combined.
But it wasn't just silly songs that I connect with him. He showed me some of the most beautiful songs ever written. Be it when you're smiling, It's a sin to tell a lie, or even Babyface; the songs he knew seemed never ending. The way he'd light up a party, make people smile, sing along and clap. Watching him perform will always be some of my happiest memories. Even when I watch my uncle's band Chico's Vibe entertaining hundreds of people at Rose Tree Park. I can't help but wish I was watching my grandfather up there; just his guitar (without the bottom string of course) just playing classics songs.
I think of the song Rainbow Connection, my all time favorite song; and it's that because of him. Him play guitar and my uncle Tommy singing with his Kermit Puppet. The love of the Muppets coming directly from him as well. How do you sum up the most important person in your life, when you haven't been able to communicate with them in almost a decade? I guess the answer is staring back at you whenever you look in the mirror. I am the example of his influence. In the way I speak, act and treat people, it's always slightly influenced by Jack Gebhart. I've been told by many that I sometimes have an old soul and that's because of him. Just looking at my DVD collection is a clear tribute to the things that he showed me; be it my Marx Brothers Silver Collection, Charlie Chaplin films, Every Muppet Film or classic universal horror movies like Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Wolf Man.
Memories are what keep me smiling and keep my going every day; the problem is when you create new memories and that person isn't there anymore.
I miss you Grandpop, I love you and I think about you every single day. I was going to put a video of something deep and serious; but that's now how Jack would want it. Grandpop... this one is in memory of you.