Six years ago today it was a pleasantly warm day in Denver. It was also the day my grandfather died. It was a relatively slow decline in health over the years so it was not shocking, but he fought like hell until the very end – refusing to give up. I thought I would share a very distinct and telling memory of him here to honor his life and to help fill the empty six years since he last was.
Tostitos Bean Dip
Being the father of eight (ungrateful, sorry, sonofabeetching) kids made Daniel DeNeice a staunch cheapskate and a stubborn man when it came to food. He would go on marathon Costco and Sam’s Club runs just about once a week to stock up. After everyone had long left the house for their own homes, he still bought bulk as if he had 10 mouths to feed. No too big of an issue since my 5 uncles, mom, two aunts, cousins, neighbors, and friends would gladly chip in to whittle away at the reserves. However, in 2004 a can of Tostitos was discovered sitting on the pantry shelf. The can said it was from 1996 – that’s right it expired over 8 years ago and I’m sure it was purchased in a Safeway shopping trip years before that since preservatives make the beans last. Obviously any ‘normal’ food purchaser would have thrown this away in 1996, but not Dan. In fact, upon the can’s revival, he insisted it was not ‘bad’ at all! After arguing with me for an entire dinner he finally yelled “Alright go get the goddamned thing!” It’s a rare event when you see someone you look up to and admire be so stubborn that it merits eating an 8+ year old can of bean dip so naturally I jumped up grabbed the can and returned to the table. His giant weathered hands unscrewed the lid and with a pop the beans were exposed. They looked ‘pale’ like the beans had lost all their color over the years sitting in that dark room, but there was no odor. Dan grabbed his spoon that had remnants of Smart Balance Margarine on it and dipped it into the ghostly bean by-product. He lifted the spoonful into his mouth and without a grandiose gesture calmly set the spoon down and said “Okay you can throw it away.”
Miss you grandpa. I really do.