He was a good grandpa. He loved to tease us mercilessly. He told us when we came to visit that we were going to have to sleep outside under the bushes. So then we'd pinch his huge grandpa-forearms with our little fingers and he'd pretend that it really hurt and then we'd laugh and laugh. (maybe it did hurt and we were just really mean) For some reason when I was very young I called him Badja instead of Grandpa. I don't know why.
He was a funny guy. He had a very dry sense of humor and he was very low-key. Whenever anyone was watching TV or a movie and said, "Who is that actor? I forgot his name," Grandpa would say, "That's Chester Brown." (there is no Chester Brown)
My aunt asked him to record his stories for her onto a tape recorder and he did. Funny stories. I'll just share one. My grandparents lived in Cannon Falls, Minnesota. In 1954 Haile Selassie, the emperor of Ethiopia was in Minnesota to visit the Mayo clinic. It was announced in the Cannon Falls Beacon that on a certain day, Selassie would be going through town, so if you wanted to see Haile Selassie, a world leader, be out on the street and you could wave to him when he went by. 1954 was also the year that Cannon Falls was going to celebrate their centennial so a lot of them men in town were growing beards for a beard contest (because nothing says Happy Hundredth Birthday like a bunch of beards!) On the day of the visit one of Grandpa's friends, Marv, put on a bathrobe and a shriner's fez and rode through town in the back of a convertible. Everyone was out on the streets and they saw Marv in the convertible with his fez and his robe and his beard and everyone just assumed that was Haile Selassie so they waved and then went back to what they were doing. Later the real Haile Selassie came through town and nobody was there to wave. Who knew that a beard could convincingly turn a Swede into an Ethiopian emperor? Never underestimate the power of the beard.
The real Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia. Not Grandpa's friend Marv.
I'll end with this: my aunt asked him about speaking Swedish. His parents were from Sweden and when he was growing up, my grandpa spoke Swedish and English. He remembered and old Swedish song and the translation is this:
My father has two pigs.
Two pigs my father has.
And if he doesn't have two pigs,
Then he's not my father.
A sausage has two ends.
Two ends a sausage has.
If it doesn't have two ends,
Then it's not a sausage.