Howard Goodwin (1919 - 2010)
My cell phone rang at 6:20am this morning. It was my mom, calling to tell me that her father had died during the night, in his sleep.
He was 91, and for all but the last two weeks of his life, he was in incredible shape. In the photo above he was 89, if you can believe that. He took a spill two weeks ago which was sadly the beginning of the end.
My mother has been incredible - she dropped everything and flew back to Virginia immediately after his accident and was with him this whole time. My sister Courtney went out last week to be with her and my sister Galen is in Virginia now. They are three good daughters.
I got to talk with my grandfather a few days ago while he was in the hospital, and we had a very important written exchange before his accident, so I feel like I got to say a proper goodbye.
"Pop" (as I always called him) was without a doubt, the friendliest, most cheerful person I have ever met. People LOVED my grandfather. Not just his friends, coworkers and peers, but his mail carrier, and his neighbors, and the folks at his grocery store and pretty much anyone else who was lucky enough to cross his path. And he did this simply by being polite and cheerful, and treating everyone with respect.
For years now, when I find myself being judgmental of someone, or getting frustrated with them, I have tried to think of Pop and the example he lead. And now I will do that more than ever.
It took no effort whatsoever to think of the best way to pay tribute to Pop. It is clear what he would have wanted, because he was a man who loved to drink. We used to joke that he looked so good in his old age, because all his organs were pickled in GIN. He was a black belt drinker, I am a featherweight. But just the same, I will gather my friends around me tonight and we will each raise a martini to Pop, and I hope that you will do the same! It's what he would have wanted.