Dear Granddaughter -
It's been too long since my last letter, and I am always nervous that if I die before you get to the age where you will remember me, you won't know how much I love you.
Let me tell you real quick what the greatest things my eyes have witnessed in the world.
#5 - Mount Rushmore, I know that seems lame because its image is always on Kodak commercials, and stuff like that. But when I saw it in the flesh....I was amazed.
And furthermore, I was like 18 years old, you'll find out that from 16-20 you are typically too cool to let stuff impress you, but I just stood there and stared.
Some people marvel at God's creation, but lets face it....God is God, and if you are God and can't create cool stuff....well, what's the point?
But to think that some stupid bonehead guys spent years hanging from ropes and carving Presidential nostrils....ha ha...pretty awesome huh.
I hope you get to see it one day.
#4 The 1987 Minnesota World Series parade. You gotta understand, in 1987 I was only 24 years old. But I love baseball, always have and always will. Sometimes when I go to a ballpark and sit their quietly, I kinda feel the same way I do when I go into a huge cathedral.
I am pretty certain God loves baseball as much as little old ladies that light candles for the oppressed, well maybe not.
But in 1987 the Twin Cities had been to a World Series in the past, 1965 in fact, but they lost to the Dodgers in 7 games.
Our hometown Vikings had not only lost 4 Super Bowls, but they pretty much got pimp slapped in each one of them.
Our NHL team had been to a couple Stanley Cups and....yeah, you guessed it. We lost.
Sports are powerful, I'm not gonna lie, people won't fess up to it, but if you grew up in Minnesota, in 1987....it was like you kinda felt like a loser (to a certain degree)...always the bridesmaid huh?
But on the day we won our first championship, everything exploded. It reminded me of the time my Uncle was fighting me and my cousins in Rush lake when we were kids.
Uncle Jerry was just horsing around, but he had - had like 26 high balls.
So while he kept cousins Mike and Jack back with an oustreched left arm, he used his right leg to kick back Shelly and Steve.
While all of this was taking place, he held my puny frame between his right arm and his flabby waistline.
As the fight went into the deeper water, eventually my head was submerged.
I kicked and flailed and underwater screamed........
To no avail.
Uncle Jerry's focus could only concentrate on the larger cousins which seemed like a more immediate threat.
I actually got to the point where my oxygen had become depleted and I stopped fighting.
My body went limp.
Then, whether it was guardian angels or chance....I'll never know.
Somehow I was pulled above the water and BLAST-BANG-BOOM my lungs were on fire. I gasped so loud people 10 docks down could hear me.
I think that was the exact same thing that happened to my community when they realized that for just once, one single moment we were the best at something.
It seemed to be enough, like it validated everything that happened in our city.
Every-every-every person with a set of functional legs walked out to that victory parade caravan, and as our home town hero's drove through Mpls and St Paul in open convertables, there were cheers that civilization hadn't heard since the toppling of Rome.
Five years later.....we won the World Series again. It wasn't nearly as big of a deal.
Once a winner...always a winner kid.
When I was a young man and working in a bakery. I had a hernia. So back in those days, they slit you open, did whatever doctors do, and pushed me out with a sewn up hernia scar.
I was laying on the couch heavily medicated and your Grandma Sue McGleno kept pumping me up with meds. I think she likes it better when Grandpa is stoned and leaves her alone.
But I remember being all drugged up and President Bush was on TV. Not George W but his old man, the first Bush Prez.
Earliar that day his wife Barbara (who was a sweet woman, but she kinda looked like she was old enough to be the Presidents mother) was sliding at some resort with her family.
She was on a long toboggan that crashed into a tree trunk.
The first lady broke her leg.
I remember my mind was floating when I watched this story being reported, but while this event seemed like just another story of the day to the press corps....I remember looking at the Presidents face.
I can't even remember what he said, but I remember this look of concern on his face. You could so tell that he didn't want to be there. He wanted to be by his wifes side.
Eventually he wrapped up and took off.
I just sat laid there all loopy, and for the next 5 minutes.....I just stared at Sue McGleno. she was in her own world and didn't even feel my eyes following her every move.
But I remember for that specific 5 minutes......how glad I was that her leg was not broken.
And then I wondered if I would one day be President...or old.
Well I am old today, and I gotta tell you, Your Grandma was pretty stunning that day.
Whales in Hawii
The single greatest thing I ever in a lifetime saw was the times when you were whatever it is when you are no longer a baby, but whatever it is that comes after a baby.
I would drive to Omaha, and your sluggard parents and Grandma would sleep-and sleep, and sleep some more.
So I would sneak into your little pink bedroom and hover over your bed.
It's cool watching (whatever 6 months older than a baby is...is that infant? I don't know...anyways...)little kids breath while they sleep.
The way they do it is so cool, like maybe because they are so young, they haven't learned to take something like the miracle of breath for granted.
But you would lay in your crib (and eventually your mini bed) and I would stand there for the longest time.
I was always tempted to wake you up because the coolest thing ever was the expression you'd make when you opened your eyes.
Smiles one mile long.
Never was there a kid who was happier to be alive than you.
So I woke you up....every chance I could.
Now some might say.....
"Really Klecko....you enjoyed that more than watching your own kids?"
Yeah...w/o a doubt, when I was a dad, 95% of my focus was on keeping the Monster called Earth and Humans off my kids back! LOL, I didn't invest in being my kids "friends....." as much as being their father.
But you got somebody doing that already, so now....I call dibs on being your bestest friend.
Oh yeah.....after you'd wake up, I'd have to get Grandma....and she would be mad because I woke you up, and I'd ask enthusiastically for her to change your diapers.
The modern world might say "Klecko....are you serious, couldn't you change your own granddaughters diapers?"
C'mon, lets not be creepy huh?
I love you M-Rose as much as my chihuahua !!!!!
Listed below I have for you one of my very favorite Christmas Cookies. it actually was developed by Laura Bush (George W's wife).
I could care less what your political affiliation is kid, just grow up and bake this cookie recipe it's the bomb.
Love Grandpa K
LAURA BUSH'S COWBOY CHRISTMAS COOKIES
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups butter (at room temperature)
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened flake coconut
2 cups chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl. In 8-quart bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute. Gradually beat in sugars; beat to combine, 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla extract. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans. For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake for 17 to 19 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. Remove cookies from rack to cool. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
P.S., when I've made these.....I like to add some orange zest as well.