Meg writes about her granddad, which, as with many things, reminds me of Grandpa Joe. I wish I had gotten into astrophysics earlier; we could have had some great chats. I wrote a poem the morning I found out he died, and I might put it up in my poetry section, but it's about me, not him. I want to talk about him.

Yes, astrophysics. Like my other grandfather, Grandpa Cichelli, Grandpa Joe worked for Dupont. Grandma told me about a time he was listed in the town newsletter, under the prodigal son category, as studying Quantity Physics and Difficult Equations. (Maybe they knew more about it than they thought.) Of all the things he taught me, I wish he'd pointed me at the quantum physics, rather than letting me discover it, too late, during my junior year of college. But then, maybe he had; I haven't always been the best at listening to grownups.

If the pictures on the wall are to be believed, Grandpa Joe was an actor, back in the day. He taught me three things about acting:

  1. To walk like a lumbering monster (human or otherwise), move the arm that's on the same side as the foot you step with, instead of the opposite one.

  2. To act drunk, concentrate on acting very sober.

  3. And the most important thing in comedy. "What's the most impor--" Timing.

He also drove the four-hour round trip to attend most of my high school plays.

Grandpa Joe was a bit of a linguist and quite a character. He taught me to say "grandfather" in a bunch of languages. He thought it was terribly funny that "grandmother" in one of those languages sounded something like "haatsmama," finding it quite fitting that my grandma be called a hot mamma. I didn't get it at the time. I do now. He also rode his bicycle every morning into town to get the newspaper. Joe Downing on the Red Bike... I went with him one morning, on my pink Huffy. Those bikes are aptly named; I nearly died.

And the other thing I did with him, once, was the annual Walk Around the House. Well, yes, it is a big house, but that's not really what's salient here. On the first snowfall of the year, Grandpa Joe would walk all the way around the Big Gray House, once. Barefoot. And I joined him, once, barefoot. The last ten feet are over those coarse gray stones used for paving an area you don't want to pave, but by then, one's feet are far too numb to notice. I think the year I joined him was the last year he was up for making the Walk.

And, to make sure I was a lady of good breeding and grace, Grandpa Joe taught me to play pool. His primary guideline carries over well into many aspects of life:

Don't swear until all the balls stop moving.

No comments: