I collect grandpas.
Now, before you get all creeped out and envision a basement full of old men, smoking and listening to jazz (which would be amazing), let me explain.
Almost everywhere I go, I run into cute, wrinkly, grandpa-esque old men. Who love to chat and tell stories about life.
Sometimes you get a creepy one, but usually they are adorable and precious.
And most of the time I view my encounters with them as little reminders of my grandpa.
He passed away a few years ago, but man, he was the sunshine on a cloudy day for me.
We always had such a great time together.
I'd make him blush whenever he'd ask about my love life. I'd say, "Grandpa, I can't get married yet. I haven't met anyone as nice as you."
He get embarrassed and bashful, while beaming a little bit. He thought I was joking, I wasn't. He was that wonderful.
Anyone that kisses your hand each time you get an answer right in "Wheel a Fortune" is a keeper.
For some reason I just missed him a lot today. I also kept seeing grandpas that reminded me of him. So that didn't help.
On my way to the gym, I popped into Half-Price Books to look at their records.
I will forever be poor, simply due to my music and book obsession.
I found some good ones and went to check out.
Standing behind me in line was a man who looked to be in his 80s. Blue collared shirt, gray sweater vest, black beret and a permeating haze of pretty good cologne.
I turned and smiled. Because I saw him trying to see what records I was buying. No discretion either. Just all up over my shoulder.
I turned and pointed them in his direction so he could see, and he said, "Is that a real Glenn Miller recording? The Mills Brothers? Beach Boys? You've got good taste!"
Why thank you. I do. My dad and grandpa would be proud.
But, it didn't end there. And that's what I love about these moments.
The story was just getting started. I learned all about what his hobbies are and what his wife does for a living.
I also learned they have an apartment in...Paris...
He talked about music and gave me a full history lesson about clarinets. Specifically the man who was the instrument repairman for the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
It was delightful.
And hilarious. Because I didn't say more than twenty words. And I didn't ask a single question.
He was so excited to share this information with someone, that when it was his turn to pay, he was throwing change around and whipping hundred dollar bills out of his wallet like they were nothing.
Calm down Grandpa Charlie. You're going to get mugged.
He was so delightful and I'm so glad I stopped to listen.
For as much as I love technology and the perks it offers, I find myself nostalgic for a time I never knew when I spend time with Charlie's generation.
Hours spent on Google will never give you the education or experience that ten minutes in a bookstore with Grandpa Charlie will.
After we both left the shop, I got in my car and cried for a minute.
Because I miss my Grandpa Wally.
I miss his laugh and his jokes and just the chance to sit with him and learn.
And though I can't sit with him today, I'm going to run into the gym, get my sweat on and then head home to listen to my "great taste in music." Because it helps me feel close to him.
I wasn't looking for a moment to point me towards simplicity today. But it kind of creeped up on me anyway. And it was lovely.