There are few things in life that offer the love and comfort of grandparents. They’re like your own parents, but cooler – and funner – and they let you stay up late and eat stuff you’re not supposed to eat, because they can – they’re grandparents! It was written centuries ago in a cave somewhere that this is how life would go when you’re a grandparent.
And there’s nothing more true than of my grandfather, who passed away at the ripe old age of 84 last Sunday. He was tall – broad shouldered – rocked the most amazing side burns through the 70’s, 80’s and some of the 90’s. His voice bellowed no matter where he went, but even more so when you walked through the front door at my grandparent’s house. The words “helloooo sweetheart” would never sound the same coming from anyonelses mouth but his. He had a unique smell, a ‘grampa’ smell if you will – and did funny things when we were kids like give us “walking around money” or take us to the Dairy Queen even after we’d already hit up the ice cream truck driving around the neighborhood. And as all of us started growing up and heading off to high school and college, it was expected that whenever he knew you’d be paying him a visit, he’d be sure to wear your colleges sweatshirt proudly – things got pretty tricky as the number of colleges increased, but he made it a point to be fair and rotate as much as he could amongst almost 17 grandchildren. His life over the last couple years in a nursing home was a little different from the days spent taking long walks throughout the town, hitting up his favorite ‘athletic club’ for a couple pops with friends. But even in the nursing home, he became the same person I’d always known him to be: someone you wanted to be around and spend time with. Who it may take an hour to get a story out of, with lots of long breaks and thoughts in between, but nevertheless when the story was over, you were glad you waited it out.
It was understood when you went to visit him in the nursing home that he wouldn’t give you the time of day unless you had something in your possession: Boston Cream Donuts – 2 to be exact. And over the last couple years, I haven’t been able to look at a Boston Cream Donut without thinking of him. And I know that now that he’s gone, I’ll always see his face in every Boston Cream Donut I see – and living in these parts, I’m happy to say I’ll be seeing a lot of him.