Memories of my Grandpa

  • I think I learned my love of mornings from my grandpa. He was always the first one to rise, and I’ll always remember waking up in the morning to the sound of him on the phone in his office talking to family back home in Pakistan, in Germany, or Los Angeles. Either that, or he would be outside tending to his garden;
  • We would have breakfast together at their kitchen table while my grandma was still fast asleep, and there was almost always fresh fruit already cut up and/or peeled — especially mangoes;
  • The rose bushes in his garden, with a particular fondness for yellow roses;
  • Playing table tennis together, with him still able to defeat both Bryce and I despite his age, and the contraption he built for himself to retrieve the balls because of his bad back;
  • He would always go to bed earlier than grandma, and I remember joining him to watch movies in bed until he would fall asleep — especially old classic films like Roman Holiday, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and older James Bond films (which I know he only watched for the women);
  • Going on family vacations to Mexico and his enthusiasm for warm tropical rainstorms, he would cover the tiled balcony floor with dish soap for Bryce and I to slip & slide across it;
  • His infinite stash of bulk hard candies from Superstore and Maria tea biscuits;
  • Playing with Putt-putt steamboats in the bathtub when I was young;
  • He would sneakily put $20 bills into Bryce and my jacket pockets while they were hanging in the front closet so that our mom and grandma wouldn’t see him giving us money;
  • His strange practical jokes — pretending to eat mouse droppings which were just cardamom, and making his mouth foam with Eno sweet-salts (antacid powder);
  • Learning to drive with him in the Volkswagen Golf he won in some radio contest;
  • Going with him to northeast Calgary (and occasionally skipping classes) to eat at his favourite Pakistani restaurants;
  • He would order these strange pizza topping combinations from the Little Caesars near their house, and then I think he would customize them further after bringing the pizza home;
  • Learning the basics of cooking with him when I was young and he would let me invent new soups with whatever random ingredients I wanted to include;
  • His signature whistle he always did to get someone’s attention which I have intentionally incorporated into my own mannerisms;
  • Putting the sprinkler under the trampoline in our backyard in the heat of mid-summer, and spending time in the backyard together.

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Phillip Meintzer

Phillip Meintzer

Marxist settler on Treaty 7 land. Just trying to leave the world better than I found it. Reading, writing, running, and revolution!