My Grandfather recently passed away. Because I didn’t grow up in this area and they moved to Florida many years ago, there aren’t many, if any, people reading this paper that ever knew him. Boy, did you all miss out. He was something great.
My Grandpa, like most Grandpas, was well known for his phrases. A lot of the ones I remember hearing as a kid were in Polish, and even if I could spell them, no one else would understand. But one of his favorite sayings in English was spoken at every meal. “Eat slow and eat a lot.”
I can only assume that most people who grew up in the great depression had these words imprinted on them at a young age. Those same kids, like my Grandpa, went off to World War II and probably learned to savor every bite they could get. It wasn’t until he met my Grandma, quite possibly the world’s greatest cook, that food took on a different meaning for him. Yet at every meal we were reminded to eat slow and eat a lot.
Whenever someone dies, it seems that between the tears of sadness comes a stream of joyful memories. I think back on them and realize that so many of the images I have in my head and heart have stuck with me and whether he knew it or not, he taught me so much.
My Grandpa never met a stranger. Wherever he went, he’d strike up a conversation and made a quick friend. He’d go to the store and be gone for an hour, chatting up someone in the hardware department. He knew everyone, and everyone knew him. I absolutely love that about him, which is why my kids refuse to go places with me because “mom talks to everyone and it takes forever.”
My Grandpa was one amazing musician. Never was professionally taught, but played the piano and organ and sang like no one else. Name a song, he would play it, putting in a little riff here or there, and always with a faint hint of a polka beat somewhere in the background. He played every chance he got, until the arthritis got to be too much. I can blame part of my love for music on him, as well as the tendency to make the bass part sound like it should be played by an accordion.
But most of all, my memories of him prove to me that that saying he said at every meal about eating slow and eating a lot was really more than just about the food. I think that he lived his life like he ate his meals--- savoring every morsel. He made the most of every day, full of love and life until the very end.
I will miss him.
Originally written 10.2.16.