Once inside her house, we were allowed to eat a bowl of Tricks before going to bed. (My normal-life cereal included only Cheerios and Wheaties--the midnight bowl was a double serious treat.)
In the mornings, my grandma made pancakes or French toast. She wore a half-apron in various checkered colors. A couple of these aprons still hang in the laundry closet. I found them one day while looking for a flashlight.
My grandpa sat in a chair by window. Whenever we passed the chair to go down to the basement (where all sorts of fun games and activities--mainly Super Mario Bros), he'd whistle to get our attention and make us come stand by him and hold his hand. He'd ask us various questions. No matter how old we were, he had a conversation with us. Hands were not to be put in pockets. Gum was not to be chewed. We always discussed how much he loved us. He'd ask if we knew it. We'd say: Yes, grandpa.
And so, last night I had a dream.
I was walking across a softball field with a friend. When we got to the bleachers, my grandpa was sitting there with someone I didn't recognize. My grandpa looked just the way he did the last time I saw him. I was so happy! I was so excited! My friend introduced us and I yelled out, "THIS IS MY GRANDPA!" And it felt good to say that sentence, the same way it feels when you're in a crowded room and you see someone you know. It feels just as good to yell out their name, as it does to see them.
And you know what my grandpa did? He held out his hand for me to hold. And then we proceeded to have a conversation which I can't remember. Except, I know we were just chatting it out about all my various projects. Very specifically we talked about school. Then he hugged me. Before I walked away (and woke up crying), he said: Work hard.
Happy New Year