The thing I’ll remember most about my grandfather is his hug. A hug from him was a strong, powerful, enveloping thing. He was a wispy figure, but was somehow always able to lift me up when I ran in the front door. He would swoop me up with an urgency and hold me, vice-like yet gentle. When I got older, too big to lift up, the hugs were still strong as beastly jaws and soft as down. I craved those hugs, excited to visit my grandparents to hear my grandmother’s laugh and rest in my grandfather’s arms. When my grandmother’s laughs were no more, the hugs remained. Now the hugs are gone, too, but not the memory or the meaning they left. He loved me, and I loved him.
My grandfather loved deeply and broadly, firm in the knowledge of his createdness and his role to love those around him. It’s an example I’ll take with me until my own death. Love big, hug big, and that love will define your family and relationships with the swiftness of rapids in water and with the power of booming echoes in the deepest canyons of time. Grandaddy died early Monday morning, a being of lovely stardust returned to stardust, free to be one with Grandmama in the long memory of God. Be proud of your life extraordinarily lived, Grandaddy, for Death cannot be proud now. It's only poppy and charms, after all. Your hugs will always be stronger than those.
On the way to visit my brother, I stopped at Starbucks for a quick coffee knowing I’d need it if I wanted to hop around the city for the rest of the night. A mother and her daughter were ordering when I stepped in line. I watched the pair as they asked for caramel frappuccinos and said yes to whipped cream. The girl looked 12 or 13, and walked with a noticeable limp, one leg a bit shorter than the other. The guy in front of me quickly opted for a latte, and went to sit down. I stepped up to the counter, in a bit of a rush and ready to head out.
I forgot about all that though, as I happened to glance over toward the door. While her mother was still waiting at the counter for her drink, the daughter was standing by the large window, taking selfie after selfie. Each pose included some variation of her facial expression and the position of the smoothie. There were kissy faces, goofy smiles, drink tilted down, drink to the side, and whatever other combinations that would take up the two solid minutes she was at it. It was a bit mesmerizing. For her it might have rivaled an intense professional magazine shoot. The coffee shop had clearly disappeared for her. I looked back to the cashier, who I suddenly realized might be impatiently waiting on me to order, but he had been looking, too. Our eyes met, and we both gave each other a look that acknowledged we weren’t sure what we’d just witnessed, but that it had indeed happened. Then we both tried not to laugh about it.
The advantage of a drip coffee order is that you get it quickly, so I found myself walking out behind the mother and daughter. I could hear them talking to each other happily, laughing as they reached the parking lot. They seemed like a fun family, and I couldn’t help but smile. When I got to my car and sat down, the only thing on my mind tumbled out as I said to myself, “I don’t really get this world, but I like it.”