|Sleeping at Mudgie's.|
I wasn't so sure about how he would act around her. I know he would love The Kid, she has a smile and a hug that could melt even the hardest soul. But babies weren't his specialty. There is the family legend that he tucked my mom's teddy bear in for the night instead of my mom when she was just a few months old.
Instead, his brother Vernal was the family baby whisperer. Since Gladys asked, her question has stayed in the back of my mind. I'm now convinced Gumpy would be head over heals for The Kid and appreciate the way she reacts to situations given her age.
For example, she loves a good rib cage massage. In case you've never heard of a rib cage massage, the concept is pretty simple. You yell, "RIB CAGE MASSAGE" then pat the ribs of the nearest kid or dog. As a kid, I would run up to Gumpy when he yelled the magic phrase and throw my arms up in the air, gritting my teeth to absorb the massage. My dog now hears it and occasionally stops long enough for me to get a few pats in. The Kid hears it and starts humming because she finds the sound of humming and a light pat on the rib cage to be hysterical. Gumpy would be infatuated with giving her rib cage massages!
The Kid and Gumpy could also agree on naps. He had an amazing gift for being able to nap anytime, anywhere and he would be out for a few hours with a gusto most people only achieve in the middle of the night. My Uncle Jim showed my sister and I how to tie his chest hairs into knots without waking him up during a trip to Ludington, which provided endless hours of mirth.
I wish the kid could fall asleep like Gumpy did, and I'm sure the staff at her daycare wish she could too. Where she is similar to Gumpy is her ability to stay sleeping regardless of what is happening around her. We took The Kid to the Detroit Food Bazaar last Christmas and she fell asleep in the car, only to wake up a few hours later as we were on our way home. I was reminded of her super sleeping powers on a trip to Mudgie's Deli, where she fell asleep in the car and stayed asleep despite the noise and bustle of a busy restaurant.
Gumpy had a little tune he would whistle whenever he was walking. I don't know what song it was, I don't think he did either but it was something he enjoyed whistling. Sometimes when I'm missing him a little more than usual, I'll start whistling that tune. I've done that in front of the little mimic otherwise known as my daughter, just to watch her purse her lips and blow out to try whistling herself. My grandfather would have loved watching her mimic whistling and would have encouraged her to keep trying, especially because it usually devolves into The Kid trying to make fart noises.
I'm thankful to both Gumpy and The Kid. He modeled being a father and she makes me think about him more often because I want to tell her all about him. I truly am a blessed man.