I found out yesterday that my Grandpa Bill has cancer in kind of a late stage. He’s at the Mayo Clinic right now getting looked at, and within a few days he’ll decide what course of treatment to take, if any. He cared for his wife Jeanette through her death by lung cancer, and so he knows only too well what he’d be facing with chemo.

Grandpa Bill is my hero. He’s funny, creative, and adored by pretty much everyone. His personal theme song is “Accentuate the Positive,” and he actually lives it. I try to follow that example, but I’m not nearly as good at it as he is.

And the man knows no embarrassment. He’ll throw pride out the window to coax a smile from a child. And he sure can; children love him perhaps best of all.

He taught me how to fish. He helped me feel better when I accidentally swallowed a quarter. He came to all my performances and cried with pride. He let me drive his tractor.

And the thing is I know I’m just one of so many people he made feel special. He’s a light in so many lives. It couldn’t be less fair. My aunt Brenda said “He’s had a hell of a life, I’ll tell you that. But the thing is, he isn’t finished. He just bought a plane!” And it’s true, he’ll never be at a good stopping point.

So we’re all trying to accentuate the positive. His life is full of blessings and adventure, so we’ve got some good raw material in this effort. I have so much more to say about him, but I don’t want to sit on this post for another day trying to write it better.

ETA: If you’ve ever seen the movie Big Fish, Ed Bloom reminds me a lot of Grandpa Bill. (And if you haven’t, you should see it, it’s an excellent movie. I really need to read the book.) Except Grandpa’s more jovial; more like a cross between Ed Bloom and Santa Claus. And I don’t have quite the same feeling that the son Will had of not knowing the real him, but I do wish we were closer.