You are sometimes zany and wacky and some of you smell like chicken noodle soup all the time and others of you smell like discontinued perfumes from the 1920s while others of you smell like cigars and cinnamon. You wear clothes that either match perfectly or don’t match at all but you almost always wear your pants much too high as though Clint Eastwood were the poster child for your generation. Your cupboards are full of foods that may or may not have been purchased five years ago and you seem to think an acceptable dinner is steak with a side of steak (or maybe that’s just my grandparents?).
You live in Florida. All of you. Don’t try to tell me you are in Palm Springs or somewhere in Arizona because I am convinced that all grandparents live in Florida. Florida should change it’s state motto from “The Sunshine State” to “The Grandparents Only, Please, State.”
Grandmothers have names like Beatrice or Edna or Lorna (that’s my grandmother’s name, in fact) and you spend your time at the garden society or getting your hair done. My grandmother grows orchids; what seems like hundreds upon hundreds of orchids, and you could pretty much call those orchids her babies aside from the white Persian show cats named things like Butterfly and Candy and Puffy and Jasmine. She also has the most impressive closet I’ve ever seen. Grandmothers have the best fashion. It’s like a non-stop party full of pastels and prints and nightgowns. I can only hope that one day I can look as fabulous as my grandmother does.
Grandfathers wear hats and white sneakers and they almost always drive big cars like Ford Crown Victorias or other large American-made automobiles that you didn’t even know you could still buy and that drive like a boat in a sea of jello pudding. My grandfather, who I fondly called Grampy, passed away last week, and I write this letter from Florida (duh) where my family has gathered to pay our respects. My grandfather liked to look at the Victoria’s Secret catalog and tell me the names of all the models and then he would annoy my grandmother by insisting on calling all the cats alternative names. Grandfathers love to annoy grandmothers. Grandfathers can be crotchety and set in their ways and as difficult as that is at times, that’s why we love them.
Grandparents love to drink. Once when my grandfather picked me up at the airport and we got back to the house he took a look at his watch, saw it was just a minute past 12pm and declared “Well. It’s after noon. Time for an afternoon drink!”
Grandparents are sometimes mysterious and magical because they have lived lives at least twice as long as ours and know things we don’t and were once people we’ll never know. We are lucky to have them and lucky that some day, hopefully, we will get to be them.
With all my love to my dear grandfather, David Craig, and to all the other grandparents out there — thanks for being so special. On behalf of all the grandchildren, we love you very much.
Photo of Lorna and Dave Craig by Annie Stamell