Monday, June 28, 2010

My Grandfather

I had the great fortune to grow up in close proximity to all four of my grandparents. My parents met in High School, and their families lived only a block apart. This situation stayed the same until my father's parents moved to Florida. I think I was nine or ten when they did. My mother's father died in 2005, rather unexpectedly. My father's father is now ailing in his Florida home. I spoke with my mother this morning. She and my father will soon be on a plane to Florida. It doesn't look good. I thought, then, that it would be good, before word comes to me one way or the other, to write about my grandfather.

He loves television. I recall that the largest unit was up on the second floor of their Long Island home, and it dominated their Florida home's living room when they moved there. Sports are the prize shows, especially those featuring New York teams - most particularly the New York Giants. I learned my first curse word from my grandfather, who could often become irritated at his team's progress during a game.

I came to love the water because of him and my grandmother. They had a pool while they lived in New York, and I spent every summer of my remembered childhood there. When they moved to Florida, I was crushed, but they visited often, and we visited often, and there was still swimming, and there were amusement parks, and laughs, and card games, and fun. That is what I remember most about my grandfather -- he was fun. He was light-hearted, full of banter, full of stories. He was warm. We haven't had the chance to speak as much as I would like these past few years. I am busier and less organized than I want, and he was less well. But ours isn't much of a talking relationship, anyway. It was a doing relationship. With grandpa there were things to do. He loves food as much as I do, and movies, and eating out at restaurants. There is a picture I will always treasure from our last visit with him. He is holding Thorn, our son, and I am sitting next to him. Grandfather, grandson, and great-grandson. The oldest and the youngest members of our family together at the same time. It is a beautiful picture. I will tell Thorn all about his great-grandfather, and he will have that picture to know, for it is evident in it, how warm, generous, and loving his great-grandfather was through all his life.

I love you, grandpa, and I hope you pull through. We're praying for you.

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