Over the years my grandfather has offered up all sorts of valuable information. Things like:
Never buy an extended warranty. (The original warranty is long enough, if it breaks after that fix it or buy a new one, things today aren't built to last like they used to be.)
Never buy a brand new car. (They depreciate in value as soon as you drive them off the lot.)
Don't pay someone for something you can do yourself. (The man is 73 and has never paid to have his oil changed.)
Change your wiper blades twice a year. (He noticed the last time he rode with me that I didnt follow this one too well.)
It can always be fixed. (Regardless of what it is, there is always a way to repair it, even if it means making a a new part.)
Thats what Grandpap's are for. (Usually said to me after either fixing my car, helping me figure my way out of a problem, or just getting my grandma off my back about the fact that I'm not married or with child.)
While I appreciate him for all the gems he's passed along, one of the biggest reasons I love him is for what he doesn't say. If I've ever disappointed him, he's never voiced it. If he's ever disagreed with a big decision I've made, he's never told me what I should have done. I know by his sly smile he tries to hide when I've done or said something that amuses him. I know he's proud of me by the way he stands with his shoulders back and the look in his eyes, the way they crinkle at the sides behind his glasses.
He brought me an Incredible Green Hulk sucker when I was five and had the chicken pox, because he knew that I favored the Green Hulk over the Easter Bunny. We used to spend hours at the dam and along the river looking for tennis or golf balls, I don't know why but I loved those moments. After Sunday dinner at my great grandmas house he would take my brother and I to the "beach" (which was just a gravely area along the river) to teach us how to skip stones. During my early childhood, when I spent the night, he would take me to get an ice cream cone at this little shop and let me get two scoops even though he knew I couldn't finish it. He sat through countless dance recitals, plays, honorary inductions, and graduations for me. When I went to college he never complained about lugging furniture or carrying boxes up flights of stairs to my dorm room on the top floor. Once when he found out I was throwing a party when my parents were out of town, he gave me a jug of some alcoholic concoction he'd made, telling me to "go easy" on it and have a good time. He winks at me and laughs when I ask him what he wants to drink then bring him a beer without waiting for the answer because I know my house is one of the few places he'll actually drink one. He calls me when he wants to look something up on the internet or to request that I make him peanut brittle.
I've never had to seek his approval, I just know I've always had it--steadfast and unwavering.
He's the reason I slip the car into second gear when driving down my hill on snowy days.