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Freshman enjoys spending time with grandfather

Isaac Varela, Features Editor

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Fishing with grandpa might not seem like a big deal for most people, but for freshman Ryan Tjapkes, fishing with grandpa is their thing.

“He and I go fishing a lot in the summer,” Tjapkes said. “That’s our thing that we do together.”

For his grandpa, Stan Policka, who is Tjapkes’ best friend, fishing is just the beginning.

“We have done (fishing) more than anything else, but we also enjoy, now that he’s old enough, going to the gun range and skeet shooting,” Policka said. “He’s the second best fisherman I know, right behind myself, and just maybe one day, he can shoot as good as I can. And he has the potential to be an great man. I enjoy doing everything with him; we always have fun.”

This fun began because Tjapkes was not close to his dad.

“I never really hung out with my dad, so my grandpa sort of took that dad role in my life, and everyday after school, I go to his house for two or three hours, so that’s when he and I spend time together and do stuff,” Tjapkes said.

That time together is also important to Policka.

“Spending time together means everything to me,” Policka said. “I’ve waited so long for him to grow up and be with him. I’ve had two daughters and two granddaughters, and finally, Ryan came along, the only boy in the family.”

In addition to bonding over outdoor activities, Tjapkes and his grandpa, who worked for a car manufacturer and then became interested in cabinet making, have bonded over other things.

“He’s always the one to show me things,” Tjapkes said. “It’s not a joking relationship but one where he is just showing me new things and showing me how to do stuff. He is just someone that is always there for me.”

For Policka, those times together paint a bigger picture.

“I teach him how to be a good person, how to respect other people, and to enjoy life,” Policka said. “I teach him these things because that’s how I was raised, and it raises him to be a respectable man, whom I am very proud of.”

Tjapkes said he looks to his grandpa for a guiding hand.

“Even when I really mess up, he just talks to me and explains stuff to me,” Tjapkes said. “He is more of a role model to me then anything”

Tjapkes said that even in difficult times, his grandpa finds ways to lighten the mood.

“He is not a jokester, but he is funny,” Tjapkes said. “A couple weeks ago, he had a heart attack, and we were sitting in the doctor’s office. He was sitting there with the lady asking him questions, and he is always has that dramatic effect when you talk to him, so he does a bunch of pauses. The nurse wrote a note to the doctor that he was delirious. He was just joking with the doctor about it and everything.”

No matter what the two are doing, they have developed a unique friendship.

“It would be impossible to pick one memory of my grandson,” Policka said. “Since the day he was born, all we have been doing is making memories. We have had so many adventures I can’t even begin to count them.”

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Freshman enjoys spending time with grandfather