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I grew up knowing I was my Grandfather’s favorite. He treated me differently from my cousins and most other people. He spent so much time teaching me everything he knew, from how to cast a fishing line to the finer points of plumbing. He took me all over the world and told me the stories of his childhood that he never shared with anyone, not even my Mother or Grandmother. I loved him so much and was blessed to have him well into his ’90’s. I’m more like my Grandfather than either one of my parents and will never stop being proud of that.

He taught me more than how to install a lock and change the oil in my car. He taught me to savor life, cherish my family and to be fiercely loyal to my loved ones. He taught me to always be curious and to do things for myself. He taught me everything really.

This is my Mom and my Grandpa, whose nickname was Hooie on Wrightsville Beach NC. I don’t know what year it was tken, but I love the picture. Tonight I am writing this blogpost from Wrightsville. We come every year, as Hooie’s family has for 11 generations and spend a week or two soaking up time with our large batch of cousins.

I miss my Hooie more when I am here than anywhere else. We drove together every year and when we crossed the Virginia line into North Carolina he would burst into song and start telling me stories. He loved this beach. He loved his family at this beach and today I found myself tearing up thinking about him and our many many mornings fishing when I was a little girl and again when my son was a little boy.

I spent most of today with two of Hooie’s first cousins. They are 89 and 94 respectively and we were together with many other family members from morning till night. They were close to each other growing up and always have a new story or two for me from Hooie’s childhood.  After a happy day we sat on the back deck of the beach house overlooking the ocean, “sittin and sippin and visitin”.  They have been fascinated by my ipad and I pulled out my “words with friends” game to show them how scrabble has evolved. When I opened it, clear as day… my tiles spelled out my Grandfather’s nickname “Hooie” and we were all a little speechless.

Sitting on his beloved beach, surrounded by the family he dedicated so much time and energy to and thinking about him all day, it felt like a little “hello” from above.