Grandpa Greenhalgh’s Silver Dollars

It has been hard to fight the waves of memories that have been let loose as the coming in of the tide at the passing of my grandpa Greenhalgh. I’ve watched as others have shared their memories and it only serves to cause tears to come to my eyes.  I hate feeling vulnerable and out of control when it comes to my emotions, so I battle back the tears and try to make sense of a life in which Grandpa is truly gone.

Visits to Nephi to visit Grandma and Grandpa Greenhalgh was always something that I looked forward to as a child.  They didn’t live in a big or fancy house.  In fact, looking back, it’s rather small compared to what people typically live in how. But it had a charm about it and the appeal was in the people that lived there.  I remember grandpa’s rocking chair and how I’d look forward to sitting on his lap and we would just rock and talk.  I don’t remember the conversations. I just knew that he was my favorite, that I loved to hear him laugh and that the time always went too quickly before we were leaving to drive back north to Logan.

As others have shared their memories of Grandpa’s love of the outdoors, I remember trips to the “crick” to skip rocks. I remember going shooting with Grandpa and one occasion where we were shooting clay pigeons, I hit one just right so that all that was left of one pigeon was a black cloud of smoke in the air.

Grandpa Greenhalgh loved to cook and to share the food he’d cook with his family and his community.  He owned a restaurant and catering business.  Though coffee has never been something that our family drank, going to visit grandpa’s café to get a pack of gum was always accompanied by the smell of coffee.  He never drank the stuff, but the aroma always reminds me of him.  Grandpa also made the best pumpkin pie.  It never is and never will be Thanksgiving without a slice of pumpkin pie.  So, it’s hard to know that he’s gone so shortly after our annual Thanksgiving/Christmas party.  But I know that I’ll never let Thanksgiving go by without having a piece of pumpkin pie and remembering Grandpa Greenhalgh.

Grandpa’s faith was also immeasurably important to him.  I remember going to church with grandpa and seeing him dressed in his Sunday best.  He had a tie tack with a small jewel in it that would refract all the different colors of the rainbow depending on how the light hit it.  I remember sitting on Grandpa’s lap at church and being mesmerized by that tie tack, twisting it this way and that to see what colors would appear next.

But among the most prominent memory I have is of Grandpa’s silver dollars.  Whenever I would go down to Nephi to visit, I would ask grandpa if I could play with his silver dollars. He had a couple of old draw-string bank bags filled with dollars.  I spent countless hours with those silver dollars spilled out over Grandpas office desk where I would stack them, count them, and pretend to spend them on whatever my young mind could conceive.  Often grandpa would tease me about wondering who I was talking to when I was playing with those silver dollars because I would chatter endlessly as I played.

There are any number of other memories that I could convey; but now those memories are like a bag of silver dollars of my own.  I find myself turning them over in my mind, counting them, stacking them, and considering how those memories are now more precious to me than the silver coins that I would scatter across grandpa’s desk.

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