Posted this to Facebook about a month ago on the anniversary of my grandpa’s passing. He was quite important to me. I just want to share a piece of him with you all. It also explains why “stormy.”
One year ago today, my grandpa, Max Archuleta, lost his fight with cancer. I’ve said in the past certain days were the worst days ever, but combined they couldn’t compare to that call I got from my mom that Sunday evening. My heart was just so broken. I just couldn’t say goodbye and even now not sure I totally have. Whether this is good or bad remains to be seen.
My last visit with him didn’t exactly go as i would have preferred, but I’m so glad I had enough sense to buy a digital voice recorder and get his voice and stories on a number of entries. I also have cousins, uncles and others talking about him. I’ll always have those stories and I’ll never have to forget what his voice sounded like because he’ll be with me forever.
I’ve avoided listening to them for a long time because I just wasn’t ready. I’ve been listening to them some now and what a treat. He was a very special man and I love him dearly, now and always.
My very first nickname came from my grandpa. I had quite the temper as a child and when I threw a fit, I really threw a fit – banging on things, hitting my head on the floor and walls (probably explains a lot haha). He nicknamed me “Stormy,” and it’s stuck ever since.
I remember the first time I felt like i was being “spoiled” by him. My brother and I were hanging out with gramps and we stopped at a local store in Rawlins, Wyo., where he and my grandma lived. He actually bought us some candy and soda. I remember thinking my brother and I were in awe because only grandma did that hahaha.
I remember all the times he took us fishing. I remember the firs time I caught a fish, it was with him, Patrick, grandma, mom, dad, and Andrea. It was an exciting thing to catch my first fish. It was small mind you but that wasn’t the point haha. I think I was about seven or eight at the time.
Grandpa used to take us ice skating also. We’d go to the local rink and go for a few spins. I just remember having such a good time. He also take us ice skating on frozen ponds and lakes too. He loved to ice fish on occasion. He was a hunter though I never did join him for that, but he sometimes made jerky. So good.
I used to get so excited when my grandparents car showed up in front of the house or all the times we’d load up into the car to visit them in Rawlins. Mom, Andrea and Patrick would fall asleep and it would be me and dad driving. I was always in charge of the radio because well, I’m the music fiend. I was the one who picked out what tapes to take (yes this was before CDs were around haha). One time our Caravan broke down and what a mess that was; that was when we got the Mazda after that.
My grandpa was a devout Catholic. There were many times we’d go to church with him, in Rawlins or in Denver. It didn’t matter where he was, he’d go to church. He was so devout that when my uncle Randy was so ill as a child, doctors didn’t think he’d live so my grandpa made a vow to pilgrimage to Chimayo, New Mexico by bicycle. It is believed a miracle happened there. It’s believed the Santo Nino has lots of miracles so my grandpa wanted to pay homage particularly because it was a miracle my uncle survived. My grandma, mom and uncles Vince and Randy all went along for the ride by car while he rode by bike day in and day out.
He and his brothers broke horses while growing up in the San Luis Valley in Colorado. He was one of fifteen kids and has lots of family. He worked for the Union Pacific Railroad for 42 years and couldn’t quite retire so kept working as a maintenance man for local motels in Rawlins. Hard work was in his blood. He also lived fearlessly, trying out skating board in his 60s. He had the neighborhood kids come around and skateboard with him.
My grandpa believed in hard work and follow through. Don’t make promises you can’t keep and be honest. Anything worth doing, is worth doing right the first time.
My grandpa was also a trickster and funny man haha. At least now I know where I get my smart ass side from haha. He loved to laugh and was always trying to be sneaky in card games.
I love him. I miss him more than even I thought I could. I’m glad I have the memories I have of him and that I have those recordings. They’re priceless.