5 feet of fury. I use those words to describe my daughter who has even adopted a “hashtag”, “#fivefeetoffury”. My paternal grandfather, Grandpa K– the original five feet of fury–was the only grandfather I knew. He passed away on this day 21 years ago when my little #fivefeetoffury was barely two months old. He was so happy to meet his first great-grandchild, and I was happy he was able to meet her. When I met my grandfather in the early 1980s, he was the scariest man I knew whenever I angered him, which was probably a lot. At this point my parents had banished me and my little brother halfway across the globe for a short period of time from Japan to a very odd place called “Florida”. He may have only been five feet tall, but whenever he yelled at me (which I usually deserved… except that one time it was my little brother’s fault, but he could do no wrong and that story is for another day) he put the fear of God in me. The next time I saw him about three years later he had both of his legs amputated due to complications from diabetes, but he was still five feet tall and scary to me. It was not until I grew to five feet that I realized I would always look up to this man. As I matured, he became my best friend, my confidante, and my father figure (sorry, Dad). I last saw him on this day 21 years ago in his casket for last time. He still looked larger than life. Larger than five feet. Larger than any man I could ever become.
From time to time I look at my own children–the new “five feet of fury”–and hope that I will one day make as powerful an impact on them.