My grandfather was larger than life. At least within our family. His voice, his demeanor, his character commended respect but also love and trust.
He lived 101 years. He was married to my grandmother for 71 years. When she passed away six years ago, his heart shattered in a million pieces.
During WWII, he was taken prisoner by the Germans and put on a train heading to a POW camp. As an officer among other brave officers, he was part of a group who decided to undo the bolt and lock on their wagon and jump. In enemy territory. During 12 days, they walked and crawled back to France. All the while my grandmother was raising the children they would create every time he was on leave...
His sense of duty and dedication are some of the traits he passed on to his children, grandchildren and great great children. He had a way to make sure of it.
Every year, he would fill photo albums with all the events he'd captured through the lens. He would include a five to ten page account of everything that happened to anyone in the family. If we ever had a dispute as to whom attended what, we'd call him or go get that album.
My grandfather had a really round belly. Like Santa. Except he had very skinny legs. I always thought he would make a really good Santa, at least from the belly.
I loved the way he laughed.
I loved the way I trusted him. I loved how safe he made me feel.
I loved the way he loved my husband "L'americain" and tried to scramble the three words of English he had learned during the war.
I also loved the way he would stop, frustrated by their lack of ability to communicate and he would exclaim "J'suis trop vieux moi maintenant! C'est a Bill d'apprendre le francais" (I'm too old now! Bill should learn French!)
He loved good food, good wine and good conversations.
I will always remember the way he had to answer the phone "Oui, j'ecoute!" (yes, I'm listening!) ... no matter who was on the other end.
He had a knack for telling stories. He loved hearing a good one too.
He was generous in all aspects possible.
He was always reading up something in his encyclopedias.
I always had the feeling he knew how we, grandkids, broke and glued back together a couple of lamps playing hide and seek at Christmas.
He was one of a kind.
Thank you for allowing me this one minute of silence. Forgive me for the lack of posts this week.