Monday, March 12, 2012

Happy 82nd

Plus one week. Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Last week, March 5th to be precise, Avraham turned Altar turned Anton turned Alton turned 82 years old. And for the time being, I will refrain from even dipping the quill into the ink when it comes to explaining what his 82 years have been comprised of. Instead, I would like to speak first about what makes his fingers twitch in excitement.

In no particular order, Alton lights up at the mere mention of the world Wendy's. He is an avid pen collector. Period. Not collector of collectible pens, but any pen in general. He will talk extensively on separating your average disposable pen to switch out his more expensive ink cartridges that I know for a fact have been sitting in a drawer for at least the past 25 years. His interest in dismantling items extends to watches as well. Wrist watches, to be specific. He will whistle softly as his eyes crinkle up if you hand him a watch with any weight. Never mind if it is a three thousand dollar watch or a thirty dollar one. He hoards any watch given to him with such pride, one can only feed into this manageable obsession, because, well, it is the cutest thing ON THIS EARTH. And if the watch was purchased for under ten dollars? Forget about it! The only way you are wiping that grin off his face is if you show him a picture of Whoopi Goldberg. (Sorry.) Another item of great interest? The wallet. I can explain this one the least. There is no style to go by, no material, and absolutely no need, but man, does he love opening a wallet and putting it aside for no reason at all. His last guilty pleasure? Aside from NCIS and napping on his recliner and his endless task of Word Searching- all things sugar free.

I believe I stumbled onto this particular passion of his when I was a sophomore in high school, working for a candy shop, and I was intriduced to a wider array of sugar free candies than I had seen before. Now, so so so many years later, the rest of the world has caught on to that need. Or the rest of the world needs it. Either way, I would make it a point to use some of each paycheck to bring him some new and exciting offering. Each piece of sugar free whatever was such a treat for both of us: him opening it, me watching him- it became a tradition. The best way to know if he really likes your snack? If he opens it up, says thank you with a reserved face and then sticks it on the floor by his feet so that nobody will ask him to taste it at all. And at his first chance, he tip toes over to the den, hides the candy in his bottom right hand drawer filled with other candies that he thinks we know nothing about, and then he sighs in relief.

Some people might see this as thinking small, or not taking in all that life has to offer. On one hand, the idea of being given the gift of life, and having the freedom from work to enjoy it, would you want every day to be the best as long as your are reclining with your Word Search? On the other hand, I would do and give everything I could and will have to see that man smile. So I really luck out that it's just a tiny portion of my paycheck that can do that. And for those times when I was missing a paycheck? You can elicit a similar grin if you yourself can grin and bear it- through an episode of NCIS. (Sorry. Sort of.) No matter the size of the world he chooses to live in, it's only his happiness that matters.

I should also refrain from saying that I thought he was a few years older. But really, Poppy, you don't look a day under 82.

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