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.