For Grandpa

sour cherry pie & birthday cupcakes

My grandfather is not a man of many words. It’s not that he’s the quiet, stoic type; he’s a jokester, a big teddy bear with a fair amount of blue color scruff. His silence comes from his ever-waning ability to hear. Rosy-cheeked, he laughs out of embarrassment (and my grandmother’s condemnations don’t help) when he misunderstands the key twist to a story, or when he needs a word, a phrase, a whole story repeated shouted 6 or 7 times. But he harbors stories. Profound stories. He’s the youngest of 13 (!), a veteran, the brother of an escaped POW, a factory worker, a black-lunged explosion survivor. But he just sits. Interested in our lives, he concentrates, trying to understand. Meanwhile, my grandmother prefers to be the loudest voice at the table, subconsciously stifling him with her “God, Eddie!”s and her eye rolls. But I get it. It’s frustrating for her. It’s frustrating for us. With or without hearing aids he finds himself lost, too tired to exert the effort necessary to actively participate.

Continue reading