Friday, March 2, 2007

Here is something I wrote for my grandpa's 80th birthday...

Our Dear Grandpa, Alfred Carollo

When I first found out about Aunt Kim gathering stories for a storybook for Grandpa’s 80th birthday, I could hardly wait to get my many treasured memories of my beloved grandfather down on paper. For weeks I searched my mind for the most fitting fable-like memory, which embodied the greatness of this man’s life and its effect on his entire family.

I remembered Grandpa swinging all us grandkids between his legs like the little monkeys we were. This, of course, eventually led to the Halloween filled with candy-eating-cousins dressed as monkeys and a big-kid-grandpa playing the organ. Grandpa taught us how to be kids and he liked to provoke the parents, particularly Granny, as much as we did!

I also remember Easter egg hunts and dilly bars from DQs drive-thru. And who could forget the beach outings? Running up and down dunes, building sand castles and picnicking were special to us because they were special to him. All of us cousins had our first “peelings” as we were rubbed down and freed of all the sand our orifices had contracted on the beach before we were allowed in his dear van. Grandpa taught us how to enjoy the finer things like camping, fishing and enjoying family.

All these were just my childhood memories.

As a teenager I remember a grandpa that made me feel beautiful with tight bear hugs and pats on the bottom and a simple, “hi, doll!” We were all lucky to have a grandfather who attended our graduations and school events with interest and pride.

But Grandpa impressed me the most at wedding times.

A week before Tommy and I got married we engaged Grandpa to pick up Tommy’s family from the airport. With more than enough change for the tolls in a cup up front, we got to O’Hare nice and early (about 2 hours before their arrival). The three of us waited at the gate drinking coffee and just talking. Grandpa talked about the garden club at church and cooking for the handicapped. But he also spoke of marriage and about how couples should take time for one another and have common interests.

Grandpa welcomed the von Rohr’s like long lost relatives and they felt at home with him instantly. He touched Tommy’s family with a goodness that crossed both language and culture. Even today they talk about that van and “Al” and Anna Rosa, Tommy’s mom, always gets a tear in her eye when she speaks of him.

However, at the end of my search for the ONE right memory to encompass them all, I instead came to realize much more.

There is no ONE thing that makes Grandpa so special to us.

Grandpa is dear to us because of who he is and what he stands for as a whole.

He is a man who knows how to play and enjoy life on an everyday basis.
He is a man in touch with nature and his environment.
He is no stranger to hard work and in fact thrives on it.
He is a modest man although richer than those with much thicker wallets.
He is a man who puts family above all and everyone who knows him will tell you the same.
He is a Christian who never has to remind you of the fact; it’s obvious in every aspect of his life.
He is a man that never has to tell you what is right and wrong because his actions say it all.
He is a man whose deep love for you and genuine happiness almost overwhelm you just by being in his presence.

Grandpa, you are the best example of a man, husband, father, and grandfather, there could ever be and all of us in your family are eternally blessed to have you in our lives.

You are our heart and all that is good in us.

I love you.


Amy said...

Hi Kristy! You made everyone here cry with what you wrote about Grandpa. Aren't we so blessed to have him in our lives?! I wish you were going to be here for his party on Saturday. We miss you and love you so much.

keri m said...

What a sweet and loving tribute to someone who obviously means alot to you.