Saturday, October 01, 2005


It was the spring of 1983, the year my sister was born. Although I had been there several times before, it would be the last visit as an only child to my favorite Hawaiian island. My maternal grandparents went, too, and I can still remember the banana-macadamia nut pancakes we ate for breakfast at the poolside restaurant. It was some eighteen years later that my mother finally showed me the breakfast spot that I remembered from all those years before, and the distinct smell of a pungent tropical flower reminded me how I used to swim and unintentionally bake in the sun until my little body was a deep brown.

Some of the memories I have of my grandfather are fading, he died when I was nine, but that spring remains clear in my mind for the most part. Perhaps it's the pictures we have of that vacation that allow me to recall in such vivid detail...

When my grandmother passed away nearly seven months ago (today would have been her 83rd birthday) and the discussion of how her possessions would be divided began, I said I only wanted one thing, a small toy that I had given my grandfather that spring twenty-two years ago. I can look back now and say it was perhaps the only truly selfless act of my lifetime, only a child could show how much they love someone by giving them a favorite toy. Only the most loving grandfather would keep the plastic figure on his dresser until he died, and only the most loving grandmother would continue to keep it there until her death, even after moving into a retirement home.

This little guy now graces my dresser:

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