Since last week, I honored my grandmother on the anniversary of her passing; it’s only fair that this week, I would honor my grandfather on the anniversary of his birthday.
While for most people today is April’s Fool and depending on who their friends are, they need to watch out for silly pranks, for me this day will always be his birthday (as well as my nephew’s birthday). Maybe that’s why he was always a fool and played silly with us his entire life.
He walked fast, always, even when we were just out for a walk. Maybe that’s where I first learned to always walk fast and always walk with purpose no matter where I’m going. That made him always be on time, even early most of the times. Since my grandma walked so slow all the time, he would joke around that she had a string between her legs that would only allow her to take small and steady steps – as I said, he was a jokester…
He would always define his birthday as “going on x years”. For instance, the day he turned 70, he wouldn’t say that he was 70 years old, he would say he was going on 71, as if he always knew he would make it to the next year of his life.
He loved gifts. It didn’t matter what they were, as long as they came from us, he loved them. He loved them so much, that he was buried with an I (heart) NY t-shirt underneath his suit. No matter how old he was, he would get that joy that only kids get when they get a gift or a nice surprise. I like to think I get the same look on my face when I get a gift from a loved one.
During the last 20 years of his life, he always walked with this walking stick. He didn’t actually need it to walk, as he was up and walking up until a few minutes before he passed, but he always had it with him. He would say it was for protection against dogs and snakes as he lived in the countryside.
One summer when I was visiting them, I fell from this Mirabelle plum tree and cut the back of my arm in this blackberry bush. The next day, he went and cut down the entire bush. I guess that was his way of protecting me from future evil.
The last time I saw him, I drove him from the countryside to the city. It’s only about 20 miles away, but he was in awe at the fact that I was that same little girl that he helped raise and now I was driving. While it may not seem like a big thing, he never learned how to drive a car and I was the first woman in my family to ever drive a car so for him that was huge. Later on, I found out that he told everyone in the little village where they lived that his granddaughter drove him to the city.
He shared his food with the dogs and the cats they had at the house. He would do that every day. He would eat part of the soup in his bowl, then mix it with bread and divide it between the dogs and the cats…every day, for every meal. And he would make us save bones from the meat we ate so we could bring them for the cats and dogs.
He raised goats and he named each and every one of them. He would always come up with these creative names and would actually call them by their names every time.
He was proud of everything we did. It didn’t matter how small it was, it didn’t even matter if he understood it, he was just proud. I guess he saw the magic in all of us.
He didn’t have the quiet calmness of my grandmother, he was quite the opposite, high energy, always doing something, always ready for the next adventure. His love was fast, action based, full of energy.
I’d like to think that a part of him will always live in me, just like a part of my grandma will always live in me. Just like I’d like to think right now they’re both in heaven celebrating him going on his 88’s birthday.
Happy birthday, tataie!