My grandfather has been the father figure in my life for just about as long as I can remember, gladly filling in where the contributor of the other half of my DNA fell short. As the sole adult male, he seems content to cede power in our largely matriarchal tribe.
Some of my earliest memories of my grandfather were when he would take me along with him when he served as an election judge for local elections and primaries. I distinctly remember sitting beside him, crossing names off a register as folks walked up to vote and pleased as punch to be there. The belief in voting, being politically active, and speaking up for what's right has definitely been his influence.
Following his lead, I, too, got involved in campaigns at a young age. However, I'm pretty sure he never imagined how much his plans would backfire. Despite all of that grooming at the Republican primaries, his bullheaded granddaughter grew up into a progressive, God-fearing Democrat. During Clinton's election, I'd finally turned 18 and found a candidate to get behind. I'll never forget coming home from school one day to have my grandma tell me I needed to take the Clinton sign out of the front yard. Evidently, the surly old man (aka my grandfather) had made it pretty clear that either the Clinton sign went...or I did. Hahaha. This probably wasn't the first but what I like to consider the beginning of what has been a long history of political debates between us.
I wouldn't have it any other way and always relish the argument.
At 81-years old, he's still surly and active. He works pretty much every day, gorges himself on books, volunteers at prisons and nursing homes, seems obsessed with women's college basketball, and thinks the only way to drink coffee is black (and hot). This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you can't tell, I'm one of his biggest fans. Maybe, if you're lucky, I'll let him write a guest post some day. He is obsessed with technology and recently joined Facebook*. ;-)
*Don't even get me started.