“You’re going to eat us out of house and home.”
His playful teasing.
“You stop that.”
Grandma waving him off, spreading the peanut butter & jelly.
The snack they would indulge me with every visit.
Sitting quietly, smiling, soaking it in.
The mischief in those eyes.
Pure white walls.
Hard linoleum floors.
Wood fed oven.
The subtle smell of kerosene as the day darkens and the lamps are lit.
The curve of his finger, still containing a marble instead of a knuckle.
The shuffle of his feet as he rolls across the floor in his wheelchair.
The pull of his cane as it wraps around your waist to pull you in for a hug.
The love and pride in his face as he watches his children and grandchildren.
The rule breaker.
The rule maker.
The made up rules only applying to him.
A game was never played how you thought.
The smell of cigars.
Shaggy white hair.
Shaggy white beard.
Bright, lively skin.
A wide smile that never fails.
Laughter, most of all.
That was Grandpa Joe.
That is what I remember.
His eyes closed, never to sparkle again.
Weeping and wailing.
This can’t be Grandpa.
Who is this man?
Where are his jokes?
Where is his cane?
Why is he so gray?
The mischief gone from his face.
The smile replaced with stone.
I want him to make me peanut butter and jelly.
I want him to tease me.
I want to hear him laugh.
This is not what I remember.