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.