Wednesday, September 22, 2004


Instead of trying to do something elaborate here, I am going to stick with what I do naturally. Telling stories.

My favorite story about my grandfather:
When I was little, I remember sitting in my grandparents' kitchen and coloring in a coloring books. It is possible that the coloring book came with me on the trip, but it is possible that it came instead from the toy cupboard. The toy cupboard was a fantastic place. I don't know what was originally stored there, but it became the place to keep toys for the grandkids. My grandfather sat down next to me and watched me color for a little while. I had carefully outlined the shapes in crayon and was filling them in, moving the crayon back and forth across the surface.

"When I was your age, we didn't color like that," he said.

I didn't reply, but switched the movement of my crayon to an up-and-down motion. He watched for a second.

"When I was your age, we didn't color like that," he repeated.

Again, I switched, this time to diagonal.

"When I was your age, we didn't color like that."

I had almost exhausted my options, but switched to a round-and-round motion.

"When I was your age..."

In my best exasperated child voice, I said, "Well Grandpa? How DID you color when you were my age??"

"Well, I didn't use all different ways like that, I picked one and stuck with it!"


My grandfather's favorite story about me:
They had taken me to the grocery store with them, and as they went through the checkout line they gave me some money for the gumball/toy machines near the door. I don't remember how much money they gave me, but it gave me the option to get gum or a toy, and several different options of toys. At three years old, this was a monumental decision. By the time they finished paying for the groceries and got out to where I was standing, the money was still in my hand. As soon as they were in earshot I blurted out:

"These machines are driving me CRAZY!!"


We weren't ready for my grandfather to pass away. He had always been a central reason why it was more fun to spend time with my family than go to the movies. My uncle thought for a year or more that a-g-i-l-e was pronounced "a gill" because my grandfather thought it would be funny to see if he would believe it. This was before the phrase "Is that right mother??" was commonplace in their household.

He played baseball with his kids after dinner in the side yard, a place we probably should have been playing baseball when my brother managed to hit one right through their plate glass window.

I remember at Christmas having a song stuck in my head (as I often do) dancing in place to it in my uncle's kitchen. When I looked up, my grandfather was dancing in place to the same rhythm, just because I was. I started laughing and promptly forgot what song was in my head, but we kept on dancing anyway. Like I said, more fun than the movies. Certainly stranger.

Grandpa was always smiling, always shaking his fist in a mock-threatening manner, would always make editorial comments about things going on around us - just like I do. We all have stories that capture a part of him, and we're lucky in that respect. But we still weren't ready. He was Enright, Chuck, Charlie, and Finn. He was Grandpa.