I remember your giant hands. Like bear paws or canoe paddles. Totally capable of anything. I remember the way they looked as they snuck another cookie without grandma noticing (even though she still did) or stole a pickle from my salad plate. Always followed by a high-pitched "hee hee hee" and an elbow nudge to the ribs. I remember how small I felt next to you when I was little. You were a mountain. And I was peeky beaky. And I knew you loved me, riding on your lap pretending to steer the blue boat that looked like a sparkly bowling ball.
I remember you tying up my orange life jacket and baiting my fishing pole with the charlie brown reel, telling me to watch the red and white bobber for any sign of movement. And I did so intently. Wanting to catch a fish as big as the one you hung up on the wall. But all I ever caught were doinkers, shimmering on the line waiting to be thrown back.
I remember being convinced you were in the mafia because of the long coats and giant brown glasses you wore and everyone greeting you with a respectful "Hello Jake" and a firm handshake. I felt like I was next to some kind of dutch royalty. And I needed to impress you with stories of good grades or my winning team. But you never cared, really. You thought I was good either way, it seemed.
I remember you taking us out for ridiculously large hamburgers and out to the beach to jet ski and parasail. I remember you getting ready for luaus in your flowery shirts, and remarking that grandma was taking too long. Saying we should get out the snackies while we waited. Always the shrimp, which looked even shrimpier next to you.
I remember sleek caddies and golf clubs. Funny socks on the ends that I never really understood. I remember cherries, not olives. And ice-makers with styrofoam cups. Fishing movies and raspberry bushes. The way your office smelled.
I remember you telling me that my future husband was a "keeper" not a doinker. And that you were ok with him being Irish cause you had an irishman working for you once and he was a good guy. "hee hee hee", elbow to the ribs.
I remember you. More than the pictures. More than the stories. I remember you because I see a lot of you in me. And I'm going to miss you grandpa.