Grandfather, Gerard T. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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“I’m going to live to be at least 100!” my grandpa always says between smacks of gum. And he probably will – Grandpa runs nine miles a day, eats like a horse, and has a mouth that never stops spewing amazing information. He also is the only one who trusts me enough to teach me how to drive.

Following his calm instructions, I adjust the mirrors, buckle my seat belt, and put the car into drive. Unlike my mom, who practically cuts off the circulation in her fingers from grasping her seat so tightly, or my dad, who completely ignores me until I do something stupid, Grandpa calmly watches me drive, making helpful comments only when necessary.

Seventy-year-old people are supposed to be feeble and forgetful, but Grandpa refuses to conform to these stereotypes. Of course, he has his moments, but when I’m with him, I feel as if I’m with a classmate or a good friend rather than a “senior citizen.”

Thirty years as an undercover cop in the NYPD made Grandpa fearless. He’ll eat anything or go on any roller coaster if he thinks it will make someone he loves happy. He’ll even sit in the passenger seat of a car with me behind the steering wheel, trusting my abilities completely, even when I don’t trust myself. I feel myself relax: My shoulders loosen from their rigid hunch, my neck slowly stops its incessant nervous sweating, and my fingers slacken on the wheel. Grandpa notices and nods as if in approval, still making sure I’m aware of my surroundings and checking my mirrors.

“I was looking over that book your mother showed me – you know how I like those long war books. Not sure what I like about them. I guess they’re just so interesting, but anyway, what was I saying? Oh, yeah, the book …” Oh, he’s at it again – rambling on about topics no one really cares about, but I pretend to listen because he thinks he’s saying something extraordinary. After a while I catch something about going home, so reluctantly (but appreciatively, since I’m somewhat tired of driving), I flick on my blinker and turn toward home. I actually don’t know how to get there, considering my terrible sense of direction, but Grandpa guides me without making me feel like an idiot for not knowing the street names.

When we finally pull into my driveway, Grandpa pats me on the back affectionately. He is proud of me. Proud not in a surprised or sarcastic way, but in a simple way. As we get out of the car, I notice he’s proud of himself too. Like the relationship between honeybees and flowers, I think he needs to help others as much as they need his help. That’s what Grandpa is – a giver. It’s what he’s always done, from his police days to being a giving father to a giving grandfather. Smiling goofily and whistling “Amazing Grace” like always, Grandpa waltzes inside, holding the door open for me.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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5555555 said...
Mar. 15, 2011 at 9:37 am
I loved your descriptive writing
 
JackieSutton This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 16, 2010 at 5:24 pm
This is amazing! You did really good on this & the characterization is excellent.
 
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