Our family lost a very special someone on Monday.
My grandfather -- Lily and Eve's great-grandfather -- passed away at a hospital on Long Island. He was 87 years old. When I think of Grandpa, the very first thing that comes to mind is how he'd have us cousins lining up every Christmas for that photo session at the kitchen table. Year after year, we'd all stand in our spots. (Or in the early years, sit on the table...) I also think of the videos. The big old camera set up on the stairs. Each person opening their present and showing it to the camera. I recall being rather ... impatient as a child. But those were good times and we'll always have the memories -- and the photos and videos -- to remember them by.
I also distinctly recall a swimming tube ... on Grandpa's head. At Tupper Lake. For those of you who don't remember, or never met or saw him ... this would be the tube in question. On his head. And if memory serves me, there were other funny head-pieces that he sported over the years. I only have the picture of the one. Looks like he ought to be steering a boat down a canal in Venice or something, doesn't it?
Before he was a grandfather, or a great-grandfather, Grandpa was a soldier. My father and brother followed in his footsteps and served in the armed forces as well. My brother is currently in the Marines. The three of them got together last year before my brother shipped out to Iraq and chatted about many things, but the one that will always stick out in my mind was ... them chatting about an old firearm.
We are going to miss Grandpa, especially around Christmas. But I am immensely glad that he got the chance to meet Lily and Eve and that we captured the moments on camera. Here he is with one of the girls, and Grandma with the other. And yes, I'm admitting it, I have no idea who they are holding...
We know he's in a great place now and someday we'll all meet again. For now, we'll have to content ourselves with memories, photographs and stories.