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Grandpa Rea
The grandfather I never knew, Grandpa Thompson 'Rea' ©missykuester.com

An evening with the grandfather I never knew

I recently had an amazing dream, the kind you don’t want to wake up from. I dreamt I enjoyed an evening with the grandfather I never knew. My grandfather Rea (pronounced Ray) died in 1961 at the age of 51. My father was just a teenager when his father died while returning from vacation. They had been in Arizona and stopped for the night in Kansas when he had a heart attack and died.

I don’t much about him. He was a farmer and school bus driver and an only child. One day a family friend, Mary Kay told me I acted a lot like him. She told me a couple stories about him and I’m grateful for the things she shared for it’s all I know about him. She told me he had one of the first still cameras and that he was a jokester. 

It’s the first time I have ever had a dream about him. He and I were walking about their old farmstead. We were talking and I remember it was delightful. At one point I took his hand and told him I was grateful to finally meet him. He showed me where their barn used to be, and I explained that after he died Grandma sold the animals and neighbors farmed the land he owned. The barn became dilapidated, and it was torn down.

You know how people ask, “Who is one person dead or alive that you would want to have dinner with?” Hands down, it is my grandfather. It’s strange how I can have such a strong attachment to my grandfather even though I never knew him. When we were expecting our second child, not knowing if it was a boy or a girl, I knew that if it was a boy, I wanted to honor my grandpa. Grandpa Rea’s real given name was Thompson Rea, named after his grandfather. My son’s middle name is Thompson. 

I’m grateful for that evening with my grandfather and I hope to have another evening with him soon.

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