It’s a beautiful summer day in Portland, and there’s not a cloud in the sky. I am a teenager, and my grandfather is visiting us. I love this guy. He taught me how to fish when I was a little boy, and he always has such interesting stories to tell. Today, he has this daydreaming look on his face whenever he gets a bright idea. But like many people of his generation, he was worried about “spending your kid’s inheritance”.
He looks over at my mom and says “Cheryl, what would you say if I wanted to buy one of those new big TVs?” He then goes on to explain that he sometimes feels selfish for spending all of his retirement checks on himself. He wants to leave something for the family for when he’s gone. I was thinking maybe he talked to one of his retirement buddies about this, and he was worried about how we thought about it.
My mom looks at him and says “You earned that retirement check, go spend it on whatever you want. I think you should enjoy yourself and if that means buying a TV, then by all means buy a TV. Besides, when you are gone, I may want a new TV. I can enjoy the same TV that you have.” My grandfather looked relieved like a big weight was lifted off of his shoulders.
That day was over 30 years ago. Since then, my grandfather has owned several TVs, countless cars and trucks, a few RVs, and even a couple of motorcycles. My grandfather loved his “toys”. It’s one of the many things I think about whenever I talk about him, and it still makes me smile.
On the last day my grandfather was alive, he was 82, and he was riding one of his motorcycles. He got into an accident. I tell this story to my friends – “My grandfather died doing what he loves at the age of 82, riding his motorcycle”. If he wanted to save his money for his kids when he passed on, he would have never of purchased that TV, or that motorcycle. But Grandpa was not the kind of guy who wanted to sit on a couch watching daytime TV, waiting for father time to take him away.
I love my grandfather. I love that he left us while riding his motorcycle at the age of 82. I loved his spirit of adventure. I love that he was always taking road trips down to Arizona in his RV and that he had such fun stories to tell.
I told my mom, I want you to be just like my grandpa. Don’t worry about leaving any money for us when you are gone. I want you to spend your kid’s inheritance. I want to remember you enjoying your life, just like I remember my grandfather enjoying his.
Photo By Jim G via StockPholio.com