The other gift, of sorts, that I gave him that was a success was telling him that my first book would be dedicated to him. I really expected him to be around when I got published (it did not seem possible that the Old Man would die), but one afternoon, for some reason--I guess as a sort of just in case--I told him quite impulsively that I was going to dedicate my first book to him. The dedication wasn't impulsive--I'd known for a long time I'd do that--but telling him was, and he was...completely astonished. He died later that fall, and I am so incredibly, incredibly glad I told him. And URBAN SHAMAN is, in fact, dedicated to Frances John Joseph McNally Malone, who would've been proud of me.
So if you have a moment, raise a glass to the Old Man, and to all the old men and women in your lives, too. I miss you, Grandpa.