A lot has been going on in my life lately, but figuring most prominently is the loss of my grandfather this past Monday, Feb. 26. It is really sad to lose him, but fortunately he had a long and full life, and he died peacefully in his sleep, at home in his favorite chair. My grandmother was an incredibly giving wife, and took good care of Grandpa until the very end. I wasn't able to be at his service yesterday, so I just wanted to remember him here.
Grandpa Gino was always a kind of larger than life figure. He immigrated here from Italy in the 1930's, and always seemed indestructible to me. I mean, when he was a boy he was shot in the eye with a bow and arrow (inside an Italian hospital, no less), he's been in numerous car and tractor accidents, and he always seemed to come out of them a little bruised but otherwise in good condition. His father (whom I never met) was a cowboy! I always remember him tinkering around with machines, trying to keep things running. He used to lay out breadcrumbs on the hill behind his house for the birds when we were younger -- I remember saving the ends of bread loaves and slightly old bread in a bag in the fridge for grandpa all the time. He called everyone Luigi or Salami. He always gave us kids a butterscotch hard candy when he drove us someplace. He loved fishing -- he even had a little boat that we would go out on sometimes. He would get up at the crack of dawn to fish while they were biting. He used to take 5 mile walks every morning at 3am -- he was an EARLY riser. My grandmother didn't drive, so my grandfather drove her everywhere, patiently waiting in the car, reading National Geographic, while she did the grocery shopping or whatever errand she was on. He never complained about waiting around -- I think he kind of liked the time to read.
He slowed down a lot lately -- my most recent memories of him were when David & I lived in the apartment on their first floor for a month, and he would call me upstairs almost every day to re-program his TV remote.
I went to visit our cousin Mario in Grandpa's hometown in Italy a few years ago, and I scanned a lot of old photos there, some of which I'm sharing here. Rest in peace, grandpa -- I love you and will miss you!