After finishing up our drive, I look at my hair. I'd spent much time curling it with hot rollers. By the time I'd arrived, it was flat. Not just flat, but greasy looking. The hair products that usually help me keep my curls bouncing around all day, were rendered useless by our friend Walking Florida sun. I pull the kids out of the car, each look adorable in their shirts. We keep running into various relatives. My Aunt screams and hugs me forever, scoops up the kids. GC lets my aunt carry her. Finally making it into the house, I search for my grandfather. The kids run to him and climb in his lap. His laughter fills the room. We all hug.
My grandfather. It's so funny to me that the rest of the world doesn’t
know who he is. He is such a rock star. He was 6’5” in a time when that
made him very unusual. His personality is the only thing bigger than
him. I've always been crazy about him. But now, as a grown up, I
realized what a riot he is. I'm actually going to share my birthday
present to him with you because, that describes him well.
I could not figure out what to get him. My friend suggested coming up with "things I love about Poppy” and writing them down.
I loved the idea but was running out of time. I suck at scrap booking,
writing on paper seemed…rushed. Mr. A came to my rescue whipping
together a power point. I picked my favorite things about him and than
described the lesson each thing taught me. Mr. A put the power
point on a DVD and than we showed it to my Poppy on his big screen TV.
The lasting impressions I have from Poppy.
John Fiscus Allouiscious (Insert his real last name here)
The Lesson: Remember, never take yourself too seriously
He’s always dressed to the nines in white suites and tuxedos
The Lesson: Dress to Impress
Being the captain of his own boat
The Lesson: Find a great hobby
Working for the telephone company
The Lesson: Work Hard…Then have a good retirement
He always seems to know what is happening before you tell him.
The Lesson: Listen to your instincts and trust them…You’re probably right
Blowing the custom built “CHARGE” horn on his car when he came to our house.
The Lesson: Let them know the party is here once you have arrived!!
He always cherishes his cars and takes good care of them.
The Lesson: We spend a lot of time in our cars, love your vehicles they are fun!
Poppy says…”If you’re not bored your punched”
I don’t really know what this means so I guess the lesson is… don’t be
afraid to say something even if it only makes sense to you.
Poppy says… “It was raining like a cow pissin’ on a flat rock"
The Lesson: Don’t stand next to a cow that’s had too much to drink!
“If your not havin’ a good time it’s your own goddamn fault”
The lesson: Never forget you're in charge of your own destiny.
He served as a sergeant in the Army.
The Lesson: Respect your country and those who fight for her.
Remembering his wonderful brother Tommy who died in WW2
The Lesson: Never forget those who made such a selfless sacrifice to ensure our freedom.
His sweet friendship with (Mr. A’s grandparents)
The Lesson: You can make dear friends at any age.
He goes on cruises and makes friends with all of the passengers and crew.
The Lesson: Vacations don’t happen every day, take the time to enjoy them!
He always takes pictures of the waiters and workers at the places he visits.
The Lesson: Don’t forget all of the people that take care of you. All jobs are important.
Everyone calls him “Big John.”
The Lesson: Make everything about yourself an asset.
He has to have a comfortable bed.
The Lesson: Sleeping well is important.
He drives too fast.
The Lesson: Take some risks, life’s no fun without them.
Dancing with him at the World Trade Center
I knew that was the dance of a lifetime and I hold it in my heart as one of my most favorite moments.
The parades at every visit. Music full blast, flag at the front, all of us marching, “ATTENTION, FORWARD MARCH”
The Lesson: Make things special for kids, they love a parade.
Always giving a firm handshake with a good greeting.
The Lesson: Don’t give a floppy fish handshake, even if you are a girl.
Marrying is wife, Barbara at 75.
The Lesson: Cherish true love, and recognize when an angel is standing right in front of you.
Raising three, beautiful, intelligent daughters all on his own.
The Lesson: No matter what cards life hands you, take care of the kids, do your best.
He always toasts “Who’s better than us?”
The lesson: Always have an answer ready for this one… but also know, no one is better than us!!
Poppy always makes everyone feel smarter and prettier than they think they are.
The Lesson: You are who you are, might as well like it!!
Turn up the Bose Radio.
The Lesson: The music sounds better when it’s loud.
Moving on after a hurricane took his house apart.
The Lesson: Unimaginable things happen in life, you have to keep going.
He sings out loud in the morning.
The Lesson: Set a great mood for every day.
Listening to the great grandchildren yodel and talk about cars.
The Lesson: Listen when the kids are talking, it makes wonderful memories for you and them.
He always makes everyone in the room laugh (even the shy people)
The Lesson : Don’t leave anyone out.
He always smells good.
The Lesson: Smell Good! Those around you will appreciate it
The Greatest Lesson….Make a huge impression on your granddaughter, so that when she thinks of you she smiles
I'm so proud to be your granddaughter. I love you very much.
gift was lots of fun, and we all laughed. Before we watched this, my
cousin and Aunt had put a blockbuster slide show of amazing vintage
pictures of my grandpa set to his favorite songs. One of the best things
about my grandfather is he's still with us, sharp as a tack. He was so
present for all the fun and touching moments.
After chit-chatting and snacking we all jumped into our vehicles for some subterfuge. We told Poppy we going out for dinner. His wife drove him to their clubhouse. We all stood up with his friends
and family. Just about everyone he loved was there. About 70 people he
had no idea he was going to see.
His wife pulls open the door… “Surprise!!!!”
I really thought he knew what we had up our sleeves. But he had no idea.
So what does a 90 year old man do when you give him a large shock?
Well my favorite 90 year old zooms in on his scooter one hand held high and does doughnuts like a Nascar racer
Then Poppy grabbed my Aunt and said, “Where’s a microphone?!”
The next thing we know Poppy is giving an impromptu speech. I wish I
could remember it word for word, but I can’t. I do remember him
cursing a bit, and saying “I am going to kiss every woman here on the
mouth." It was awesome.
What a guy. You couldn’t tell from his voice that his eyes were glistening with tears while he spoke.
The decorations were perfect! Red, White and Blue for the most
patriotic man I know. There was a board set up with some of my
Grandfather’s favorite sayings.
We had a singer/d.j. who did a fabulous job with the music. The food was
so tasty. What a crowd. This was the best group of people for a party.
They had a big screen and replayed the slideshow and the power point. BC had delivered a beautiful speech about how Great Poppy was his hero
for fighting in WWII and gives him the courage to tell better jokes.
GCdecided she wanted to sing to Poppy as a present. I really expected
the nerves to kick in when she saw the large crowd, stage and
microphone. She got lifted onto the stage and started to sing her
favorite Hannah Montana song a cappella, but she faltered after a few
words and grew quiet. An awkward silence filled the room.
I thought, Should I grab her quick, so she doesn’t get embarrassed
Then I heard my grandfathers’ voice booming across the large expanse of the room
“I'm coming sweetheart, Hold on!!”
He zoomed the scooter
super fast to the foot of the stage. I watched through blurry, teary
eyes as she took a deep breath, locked eyes with Poppy and started
singing in a clear, beautiful voice. He knew just what she needed.
I loved that moment.
And then there was the parade! We all stripped the centerpieces of
their flags, grabbed balloons, the DJ cranked the parade march. The
parade line was so long the front touched the back.
The crowd went wild for “We are family” and “Old Tomb Rock and Roll”
Poppy scootered out to the dance floor. He whirled around and danced with all the ladies.
But, as is known to happen with septuagenarians, one of the ladies got
rowdy. She had to top the rest of the woman by simulating a lap dance.
Which became a scooter Dance. After someone helped her get her leg over
No wonder why they say retirement parks are no place for children!
My grandfather’s wife rushed to the scooter and said in a loud voice to her husband, “John, now you owe her 20 bucks.”
Then we had the mandatory kick line. During New York, New York all the
ladies do a pathetic kick line. I was proud to lead my daughter out with
me, joining my mother . Three generations of woman with no rhythm, trying not to fall over, while pulling a hamstring.
And all too soon it was over. We were hugging all these fabulous people
again and again. The memories were made. My grandfather celebrated. It's so very hard to say goodbye to him. What a guy. What a rock star.
We shuffled our tired kids into the van. Next stop. Disney World. And this time kids, we are staying!!!!!!!