Happy Birthday, sir.

Today is my paternal grandfather’s birthday, and though he’s no longer with us, he’s certainly felt and remembered by the entire family. He was a true patriarch.

To celebrate his birthday, I spent a little quality time with the things that remind me of him:

A painted wooden bird. My grandfather loved birds and there were figurines and avian decorations everywhere. He fed birds in the yard and enjoy watching them. One of my most distinct memories of him, was his ability to feed a wild momma robin some worms, by hand, as she at on her nest.
A pipe. My grandfather at one time smoked cigarettes, a pipe, and cigars. They say smells are hardwired to your primitive brain and can trigger memories like no other. This is certainly true–the scent of flavored smoke is a strong recall for me.
A carved wooden ashtray. I don’t know where this ashtray originated, but I remember it sitting on a table on the side porch of my grandparents’ home. They’d sit in their rocking chairs, the family talking, forgetting their cigarette in the ashtray for a moment. Once, I cleaned and used the tray as a makeshift nest for a baby bird.
Peach flavored brandy. Also known as “sweetener”, specifically, “would you like a little sweetener in your coffee?” It was a favorite of my Grandfather’s and something he’d tease us with as children.

It’s remarkable how a few things can resonate so strongly with an idea of a person. That they can be so comforting when they’re no longer around. Hoka-hey, Pappy! Happy Birthday, and rest well.

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