My grandfather was the best babysitter ever. When it was time for bed, he would make up elaborate stories that were filled with excitement and intrigue. Then came the tucking in, which would go on for several minutes and basically turn me into a cocoon.
Until I was 9 years old, I was a thumb sucker. When I was in first grade, my grandpa actually taught at the same school I went to. He would look in on my class, see me sucking my thumb and then put his thumb in his mouth and give me a little wave. I loved that.
My grandpa had quite the car. It was so big, in fact, that my brother and I actually called it "the big car." To be honest, I have no idea what kind of car it was, but it was a BOAT. He picked us up from high school every day, and he would get there about an hour and a half before class ended so he could get the best spot right out front. He'd sit in "the big car" and read his paper, waving to us as we spotted him while walking to our classes. Far from embarrassing me, seeing him waiting for me always filled me with joy.
The Jewish holidays were extremely important to my Papa. We had dinner every Friday night at his house for Shabbat, and I loved hearing him recite the Kiddush and the prayer for the bread. His voice was beautiful -- and I looked forward to hearing him sing time and time again. He also loved hiding the Afikoman on Passover ... which he hid in the same place every year. Well, until the year he actually hid it somewhere different and we couldn't find it no matter how hard we searched. Six months later, a burning smell started coming from one of the lamps in the den -- yep, that's where it had been all that time.
I don't want to say I was SPOILED by my grandfather, but he certainly made sure I was well taken care of. On our weekly "jaunts" to the bookstore or the toy store, I was always allowed to pick out multiple books and Barbies. As I got older, he bought me beautiful silver jewelry from Tiffany's, which I still have and wear.
There are so many more memories I could share, but these are just a few of the most poignant. I'm missing my grandfather today especially, but not a day goes by that I don't think of him and hope that, wherever he is, he's singing.