On the day that my Grandfather died I got the chance to talk to him and be with him one last time. I could tell he was in a lot of pain but he was holding on to make sure everyone, especially me, was OK, because that’s just the kind of guy he was. I know that out of all of the family I am the one who gave him the most to worry about, other than Uncle Tim for a large period of time…I have to admit, I have lived a bit of an unconventional life that could cause a Grandfather to worry, and for that, Grandad, I am sorry, but who doesn’t like a good party?
Ironically, one of my first memories I have of him was at a party. I was sitting on his lap while a birthday cake was in front of us. Inside my head I was thinking how bad I wanted to taste the icing on the cake and like a mind reader he took my little hand and dipped my finger right in the icing…and then he took a fingerful for himself, we looked at each other as we shoved our fingers in our mouths. I remember Grandmom getting mad, and the whole room laughing, but he didn’t regret it one bit. He just gave a big hearty laugh and lifted his eyebrows at my Grandmother to show of those shiny big blue eyes…man… those things were like weapons…they just melted her.
I can remember when I was helping Grandad at his house and I found a picture of an extremely handsome man that I didn’t recognize…now as an extremely handsome man myself, I can say that I was a bit jealous when I saw the photo because this guy even had me beat. I was thinking it was some stock photo of a movie star from the 50’s or something. Who could this be? So I brought it over to my Grandad and asked who it was and he said “that’s me….silly!”.
One day we got to have a conversation about the ducks that seemed to be covering every inch of his houses. I asked him why he likes the ducks so much? He said that actually he never particularly cared for ducks, he never had a problem with them, but it all started because of some geese, not ducks. Now ever since I can remember, I can remember the ducks everywhere, even the phone in the living room in the Cinnaminson house was a duck, so I was shocked.
He went on to tell me a story about how he would drive his car to work at the steel mill, which was a really tough job, so on the way sometimes he would stop to watch some geese at a lake. He said when the family learned about him stopping to see these geese, the presents started to roll in, each with some type of Goose or Geese theme. He said it took a couple of years until the family bought every item in the world they could find that had geese on them until they finally ran out of things they could buy, all of the sudden, they switched to Ducks!
So now that I knew the Ducks had been forced on him, I asked him what it was he liked about the Geese? He said that never really cared for the Geese either, it was just a nice spot to stop. He continued though to say that he did like the fact though that geese only have one mate in life, and in that respect he is very much like a goose. Which was his way of explaining why he never looked for another goose. He said that it wouldn’t be fair to any other lady to be compared to my Grandmother, because she was a one of a kind goose that only comes around once in a very lucky lifetime. Which is just what he had.
When my family moved back here three years ago from California it was specifically so my son could get to know his family better, especially my Grandfather…and not so much my Father…Just Kidding, Dad. Almost weekly we’d make the 30 minute trek to Columbus NJ to see him, where the guard would interrogate us just to get in, and almost every time we’d wind up at some type of Diner.
On the way to the diner he would ask Declan if was going to order the Slum Gullion, or possibly some the Lizards Gizzards? Which always got a chuckle from everyone. On one of the first trips to the diner after we had just moved back Grandad decided to teach Declan how to make spitballs from the straws paper, and then how to spit them across the table at me. Spitballs were flying everywhere, bouncing off my head, onto other tables, and on the floor…I thought we were going to get kicked out. But he was like a celebrity there so nobody cared.
When I started speaking I told you that I got the chance to talk to my grandfather on his last day, now he couldn’t talk back, but he could still hear me and he could still make movements to let us know he could hear. I waited for the moment that my Mother took a little break and gave Faridar and I a chance to be alone with him. By the way, just two days before this he got about 30 kisses from Faridar, and on one occasion looked up at me and said “I just kissed your pretty wife and there isn’t anything you can do about it”. Which he was completely right about.
With my mother out of the room, and Faridar tenderly holding his hand, I told him that he did it, he won in the game of life, that he raised 4 wonderful kids, with 8 healthy and happy grandkids who have brought forth 6 great grandkids, and will all be OK, and that I will be OK, and that it’s OK…. for him to go see Grandmom. He doesn’t have to fight the pain anymore, and that it was OK for him to stop fighting. I said Grandmom is waiting to take you to a party and she’s is wondering what took you so long. When I was telling him this he began to cry and Faridar gently kissed his hand and stroked his hair.
Just a couple of hours later, with my mother at his side, he passed away peacefully, and headed to the party that he so much deserves. Now I am still not forgiving you for being more handsome than me, but I will ask that you save me a spot at the party, because I hear it’s a good one.