Today is my grandfather’s birthday…he would have been 118 years old. My grandpa was a gentle man who loved children. My mom tells me of the many times when Grandpa would patiently sit while the girls, his daughters, would comb his hair and paint his nails. Then he would go to work with those same painted nails, rather than hurt his little girls feelings. If anyone dared to tease him about that, he never told his family about it. I think it takes a special man to be so comfortable in his own skin that he can share those special moments with his kids, and not be embarrassed about it. That was the kind of man he was. Nothing was more important than family. He was totally gone on Grandma, and loved his kids and later grandkids more than anything.
I remember going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house when I was young. When we would walk in the door, Grandpa would always say, “Come on in, kid.” He always said it in such an endearing way, and you just knew you were loved. Grandpa was just so sweet. But, he also had quite a sense of humor.
I remember Grandpa calling the house. He would always try to disguise his voice to sound like he was a very old man. Then he would ask to speak to Mrs McGillycuddy. It wasn’t until we were a little older that we stopped being fooled, then we would laugh and say, “Grandpa, is that you.” He loved making us laugh.
As occasionally happens with every kidder, at some point, the joke ends up being on them. That day came for my grandpa one day when he stopped by our house. My mom was on the phone, and the front door was open, so she told him through the screen to come in. She went on with her conversation for a minute, then noticed that Grandpa was still standing outside. She again told him to come on in and went on with the conversation. She looked up a third time, wondering why he wouldn’t come in. It was then that she saw our German Shepherd dog, King, guarding the doorway. She said, “King, you let him in!” As King moved away from the door, she said it was the only time she ever saw a dog laugh. King knew who my grandpa was, and he would never have hurt him. He just saw the chance to kid a kidder, and he took it.