Grandma had just taken picture with someone’s head cut off. Again. She forgot that Grandpa would get cropped in the frame of the camera automatically. She forgot those things when she got excited. She had just gotten Grandpa that suit and she was so proud of it. It had taken her a couple months’ wages at the library to save to buy it. But he looked good in it. That’s what she kept saying while she took the picture.

It was the October before his last Thanksgiving with us. He was a door-to-door vacuum salesman, when that was still a profession. He used to travel 250 days out of the year. I went with him on a home visit once. I was maybe 12 at the time. It was such an adventure. He kept taking out object after object from the trunk of his green Buick. Some of the objects were hoses others were accessories that could come with the base vacuum unit. It was like we were astronauts embarking on a trip around the moon with all the equipment we had in our hands. We ended up selling 3 base units and an accessory package that day. We were walking on clouds when we left.

It was that sense of salesmanship and tenacity that has stuck with me most since he passed. It was quick, his passing. He just went to sleep one night and didn’t wake up in the morning. It was unexpected too. But it brought us more together as a family than any other family event before or since.

Story by Rich Beckermeyer

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