The Last Trip Home

“This is going to be my last trip home,” he told us in 2003.

Ken, Ann’s grandfather, had been saying this for years before departing for his annual trip back home to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He had friends back there and would spend at least 5 months out of the year with them – when the weather was right, of course.

“No, I’m getting to old for this. This will be it.”

A few days later, he departed John Wayne Airport on an American Airlines jet and made his way to Pennsylvania. He preferred both the airport and airline because he despised LAX and Delta.

We doubted his proclamation because we knew that the following year when he would be 83, he would tell us the same thing.

He never had that chance.

Grandpa passed away of a massive heart-attack on Halloween of 2003 while he was packing for his return flight to California. True to his word, that trip would be his final trip to the city he was born in 82 years earlier. Kind of like he knew.

Sadly, Ann passed up one final chance to speak with him which she no doubt regrets to this day. The reason she did was because she wanted to tell him personally that she was pregnant with his first great-grandchild, Anthony.

But he went to his grave not knowing he was a great-grandfather. Nor did he ever receive Ann’s college graduation invitation which she was also going to give to him personally. It is still sealed and in our display case, right next to Ann’s BSIT which is dated October 31, 2003 – the day Grandpa died.

And ironically, he was returned to California for burial via – you guessed it – LAX and on Delta Airlines.

Funny how that works.

Rest in peace, Grandpa. We all miss you.