Sunday, April 01, 2007

candles on a cake

Today, we celebrated my grandfather's 93rd birthday.

The family assembled for lunch at a cheap restaurant, taking over several tables, all joined together to form one long table. My Grandpa sat at the head of the table, looking regal despite his stoop; handsome in his gold silky shirt and tie. He seemed proud as he gazed down the table at his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I think he smiled almost the entire time.

I sat for awhile by Grandpa's side. He may be elderly, but nothing gets past him. He asked me about work, and enquired after Laura and Ben. He told me a joke about an Scotsman and and Irishman (it was quite funny, but due to my joke-telling ineptitude, I cannot - will not - inflict this joke upon you). We spoke about this and that.

Grandpa talked about his mother, who wore her hair so long she could sit on it. Grandpa remembered when he was four, and his own fair hair fell in curls to well below his shoulders. Apparently that was the done thing in those days - to leave a boy child's hair uncut until the age of about four years, when the locks were finally cut short.

Grandpa spoke of a picture of a prince and princess that he once bought for Grandma - a picture Grandma spotted in a hotel not far from their home. I'm not sure what Grandpa and Grandma were actually doing in the hotel, since Grandma was, and Grandpa remains, a teetotaller. Grandpa explained to me that he never normally went into hotels, referring to them as 'dens of iniquity'. I wanted to smile at that, but didn't.

Grandpa lifted his arm slowly to place it around my shoulders. I cuddled up to him and counted my lucky stars to still have him in my life.

Every time Grandpa has a birthday, I wonder if he will make it to the next. I know he misses his sweetheart, my Grandma, as keenly as ever. I sometimes wonder if he longs to join her. I wonder if Grandpa stays around through sheer willpower - knowing how much we love him and want him on this earth.

My grandpa is ninety-three. I think he's the bomb.

14 comments:

thisisme said...

Happy birthday to Jelly's grandfather. 93 is an achievement. What a wonderful feeling for you all, spending that time together.

One of my favourite phrases "den of iniquity" :)

Motherkitty said...

Wow. 93 years old. You are so lucky, ducky, to have him around to enjoy and love. You should ask him more about his past history (write it down). I wish I had questioned my grandparents more while they were still alive. Once dead, there's nobody to ask anymore.

Glad you had such a nice birthday party for your grandpa.

Remiman said...

Jelly,

;-)

rel

Kerri said...

I'm sure Grandpa had a delightful time talking to you :) It amazes me how some people are still so aware in their 90's, and make that great age seem "not so old". Your grandpa sounds like someone I'd love to meet.
I'm picturing those long 4 year old curls :)
Glad you had such a wonderful family gathering Jelly. Thanks for sharing.

Redneck Mommy said...

93. I hope my gramps lives that long and lives well.

Congrats to him and you.

May you be blessed to have many more years with him.

Val said...

I loved this post, Jelly. As we get older we realise more and more how precious our oldies are to us, and it's especially good when we've started appreciating them at an earlier age too.

Yes, do ask about past history if you haven't already done so, but don't let that get in the way of what you are experiencing by having such family get togethers.

John Cowart said...

It's 4 a.m. here and I just heard news of a Tsunami warning being issued down there. I hope you and your family are in a safe area.

susan said...

It is heartwarming to read your grandpa story. My grandparents are long gone, parents too. It is weird that we are the oldest generation now, just in our early 50s. But we have loving grandchildren, and maybe someday we will be taken to dinner for our 93rd like your grandpa. Thanks for sharing.

shellyC said...

93 WOW!!! Happy Birthday Grandpa! Oh how I wish I still had Grandparents. I lost them all before I could really appreciate them. Grandparents are such special people especially when they become Great ones!!!

TUFFENUF said...

Jelly, if you haven't already - you should videotape your grandfather. I have seen this done with a friend's grandparent who has now passed. They just made it like an interview and it was nice to pass down to the young grand children who would not have otherwise remembered him. Good luck to Grandpa and I hope he makes many more birthdays!

meggie said...

How lovely to still have your Grandpa. And how nice to know he has his memories, & is still enjoying life.
My dear Uncle is about to turn 90, he has a great memory, & is so happy & proud to still be alive!

DayByDay4-2Day said...

Thank you for sharing just a moment in your life.

Sandy said...

How wonderful that you still have your grandpa and he's 93. I lost all of my grandparents at a very young age...that is me...I was at a young age. My grandfather lived to be l00 or l0l.

As Motherkitty said, ask him questions about his past history and I also think that Tuffenuf had an excellent idea of video taping him while asking him the questions.

Happy Belated Birthday to your grandpa.

mackeydoodle said...

My grandparents are gone. I especially miss my maternal gramdma. We had a special relationship.
Happy birthday to you Grampa.
May there be plenty more.