For Gramps

Dear Gramps,

We’ve had a lot of great conversations over the years, I remember chatting with you in my old truck about your time in Washington DC and Chicago. You seemed so mythical back then, an eternal patriarch that had seen and done it all. When I followed in your footsteps and went to Chicago, I missed those talks. But after a decade we picked up right where we left off, and my favorite conversations were those three or four hour marathons on Tuesday afternoons. We’d sit side by side like we were still in that old truck, our legs crossed, and as you sat and smiled and talked about the good old days, I’d picture you growing up in Quincy, dancing your socks off with the ladies in wartime Washington DC, and then meeting your beloved Mary Jane, settling down Quincy with your twins and then on through the years.

As our conversations progressed we probably talked about every person in the entire family, but don’t worry, your secrets are safe with me. It was so nourishing to hear you talk about your life, to know that life is messy and mysterious and you just have to take it as it comes. It has helped me so much as a man, a husband, and now a father.

I loved to hear your stories. I used to listen a lot back in those days, but I’m afraid now you’ll have to do most of the listening, until we all meet again and I finally get to crack open some beers with your grandpa William, your parents and in-laws, Buzzy, Elsie, and the rest of the gang.

But not yet.

I have a little boy to raise who carries your name. I named him after you because I love you and hope he lives a good long life, just like you. I hope he’s a loyal and loving husband, father,  brother, and son, just like you. I hope he takes care of the people around him and lives a good, simple life of love and finding God in the little things, just like you. Today is his first birthday, and I’m so glad God blessed us three with this year to spend together. I know it’s been a pretty tough year for you, but thanks for hanging on as long as you could. He sure loved when you’d let him play with your watch, your shoes, and when you’d hold his fat little feet.

The last photo of William and William. October 2016.

I hope he’ll make you proud, Gramps. I hope we all make you proud. Please watch over us and send us little signs every once and awhile that you’re around, a cardinal here or there or something else. We know now that you’re not an eternal patriarch, but you’re still our friend, our rock, our confidant, our Gramps. Rest easy, you beautiful dreamer.

Talk to you soon,



Read at my grandfather’s funeral. October 27th, 2016 (William’s 1st Birthday)

William’s 1st Birthday. October 2016