My grandfather passed away earlier this week. He suffered from Alzheimer’s and has been declining for a long time. The best way that I can gauge it is that Brian and I have been together for almost nine years, and while Brian met him when we first started dating, even then he wasn’t himself.
Tonight we’re celebrating his life with a family dinner of all his favorite foods. Because we lost him over such a long period of time, it feels even more important to me to document the memories that I have of him. So today I just want to touch on a couple of them.
Papa loved to entertain. He had a great laugh and a life-of-the-party personality, and he always seemed to strike up friendly conversations with strangers. But as his grandchild I most remember his theatrical pranks. When we would drive somewhere I would always climb into the car and buckle my seat belt before closing the door (why? In retrospect this makes no sense) and he loved to zip out of the long driveway backwards and stop the car fast so that my door slammed before I could get to it. And there was never a trip to Grandma Jane and Papa’s without him stomping down the wooden stairs in their two-story foyer and using his best giant voice to shout “fee, fi, fo, fum.” And as you can see above, he was great at reading stories. His voices were pretty awesome.
He loved food in general, but especially ice cream. My grandparents lived in Annapolis when I was growing up, and I have many good memories of going to the harbor with him, getting ice cream, and feeding the ducks. Papa was always very helpful about cleaning up my ice cream cone, which I wasn’t always happy about, but I have to admit that he was rather skilled at it. He also reportedly taught my dad (his son-in-law) to scoop down in the ice cream container as opposed to across to minimize surface area for crystallization. This was kind of a big deal in my house growing up. Tonight we’ll be having his favorites, including Graeter’s shipped from Cincinnati, as well as Cincinnati chili, Original KFC, fresh popcorn, and his whiskey sours (you may remember this sign from my wedding.)
He loved history. He was always quick to point out historic places or talk about his family’s history. I wish I had been older and could remember more of what he said.
And he was always affectionate. There was never a shortage of hugs and kisses. He was the real deal as far as grandfathers go.
A big thanks to my clients for being so understanding while I’m out of town! If I owe you an email, please know that I will get to you as soon as possible.