Grandpa Fred

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My grandpa Fred is one of the most influential characters in my life. But why, you ask? There’s so much that you can easily remember about him, after seeing him on just one occasion! His tailored, finely ironed slacks slice a path through the air! I always stare in awe at his plaid dress shirts, with a multitude of buttons. His face has many wrinkles clinging to it, each with its own story of origin. When is his face at its best and jolliest appearance; when he tells those who are curious, stories about his childhood. How can you not giggle, after someone tells you they got arrested in high school for hitch hiking?

That 80 year old can be like a kid in so many ways. Maybe that’s why I love him so much. We can connect very easily. For example, he refuses to have broccoli, lutefisk, or rutabagas touch his tongue for merely a second! He told me one time, he had to eat those foods at every meal with his Swiss parents. He’s just that sick of them now. But I know what you can’t say no to Fred; my mother’s German chocolate cake. The minute the sponge-like texture bounces in his mouth, we (my family and I) can usually leave him alone for a good half hour and he’s just fine.

Fred has always had a strong and firm, but supportive voice. And for that, I thank him greatly. “Pass the damn potatoes,” he once bellowed at a family dinner. I know I for one, would be very concerned if he didn’t know how to use his voice to get what he wanted by now. He is 80 years old, ‘ya know! Without that voice, he couldn’t have raised my mother, and had her become the wonderful person she is today.





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