For those who do not know me, Cleveland was my Grandfather & I am his oldest grandson proudly named Nicholas Cleveland — a middle name I can only hope to live up to because of the kind of person my grandfather was.
Life is too short, but my grandfather enjoyed his life all right! My Grandpa Cleve made the best of every situation and was such a central figure to our family.
I believed my Grandpa Cleve knew everything; guess I still feel that way today! I remember crusty eyed trying to get up at 5:00 AM like he always did wondering what was so great about getting up that early. Many times I would try to get up before him, but every time, there he was reading a newspaper with a coffee and a canine by his side. (I never did figure that one out!?)
I remember walking into amusement and water parks for free because I was with my Grandpa, thinking it was the Best thing Ever……And It Was!!
I know my Grandfather touched many people. For example, Grandpa Cleve gave his signed Joe DiMaggio baseball to my brother and me, which was replaced by a baseball signed by “somewhat less famous baseball players” my brother Ben and me.
Although we have had the opportunity to take many vacations together to Salt Lake City, San Miguel, New York City, the trip that stands out the most to me is my Grandpa driving me to the Fort Worth Bureau of Engraving where we got to see money being made. I guess the reason this trip stands out in my mind is that it was just Grandpa and me.
Our one-on-one conversation ranged from him enthusiastically asking me “do you like ice cream? and what’s your favorite kind?” to clear instructions on how to pick out a good watermelon.
I cannot see an older styled gray BMW without thinking of my Grandpa Cleveland because that is the only car I ever saw him drive. In fact, just yesterday, Ben, Hunter and I sat on Grandma’s front porch in anticipation of seeing our cousin Lucky drive up in that “memorable to us” gray 1988 BMW.
Another memory that will never fade is his smell, the Aramis cologne he always wore, especially noticed with his special hugs.
I remember how much of a gentlemen he was; he would always hold the door open for anyone. Grandpa Cleve was soft spoken, but a Champion at one liners!
My Grandpa lived his life, I know, to the fullest and will never be forgotten. Nor did he forgot when he waited one final time, like he always did….for my Grandma Sherry to hold his hand before ascending to Heaven, riding the coaster up and up and never coming back down!