This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #40:
Things my father (or any male of influence growing up) said.
Are we here to eat or play cards?
You haven’t got a ghost of a chance.
Throw one away you won’t have so many.
Don’t bend the tickets!
Card games: May I…Pinochle…Hearts…
Always accompanied by my grandfather’s litany of patter. To keep squirmy card players at attention. Snack crumbs to a minimum. Playing cards unbent. Always with a smile; however small, tugging at the corner of his mouth. The corner not clamped tight on a lit Pall Mall. The smile winning out at the last directive – discharge in lieu of discard – to get a rise out of my mother who was predictably horrified every time. Snickering ensued amongst the rest of us. Every time.
My grandfather – Opa – was a talker. A rabid card player. And so was I.
He did not offer endless pieces of advice…but a few come to mind:
I was 21 and had just started seriously dating the man I eventually married 3 years later. I was home that March on my college spring break…and spent a weekend visiting Opa and Oma. As we shared a booth waiting for pizzas at a local restaurant, he sat directly across from me. Oma was on my right. The conversation shifted from his questions about my nutrition classes…to questions about my romantic boyfriend. Who had sent a dozen yellow roses. To me. At their house…FTD!
What does he do? He’s a musician…
Uh, huh…? He’s going to be a music teacher when he graduates this year.
Okay that’s good. Opa’s expression at this point relaxed somewhat, but remained neutral. I suspected he was hoping I was in love with someone who would earn lots of money. Obviously that wasn’t going to happen. Never mind what my career would bring…but I was a year away from graduation at that point.
And then he got to it…
Shifting in his seat, he leaned forward. Looked straight at me, his glasses sliding down his nose.
His blue eyes bored into mine.
Wait For The Ticket.
Immediately Oma kicked him under the table. Muttered his name in a warning.
Waiting for my reply, he repeated:
Wait For The Ticket.
Never breaking his gaze. Uncharacteristically serious.
I nodded. Not really embarrassed, I kept my reaction as noncommittal as possible.
He didn’t want me to repeat his history.
Breastfeeding Is Best
Opa was beyond excited at the prospect of becoming a great grandfather. When I was expecting my first child, he would check in with me every so often to ask about my health. And plans for the baby. Including what the baby’s diet would be. I told him I was planning to exclusively breastfeed. He was thrilled. Your Oma breastfed your mother for a year!
He was one of the first people I called when my daughter was born. His first words…after congratulating me…were:
If You Breastfeed Her For The First Year Everything Will Be Fine!
And she was.