My grandfather is 88 today.

Grandpa Sam on his 88th birthday, April 16, 2017.

It also happens to be Easter Sunday – every once in a while, the stars align and his birthday falls on the holiday. To celebrate, my mother took him to the MGM Grand casino in downtown Detroit. Gambling is his favorite pastime, still, at almost 90 years old. He didn’t win anything big today, but he sounded cheerful, like he genuinely had a good time. 

After he had his fill of blackjack, he and mom went out for lunch. He reported that he ordered a bowl of Italian wedding soup for his birthday meal: “That shit is good.”

I talked to him for a good portion of my ride back to Oakland from the cabin today. He sounded happy; just like himself. But before we hung up, he reminded me:

“You know it’s been a year since Grandma died? We’re gonna go visit her next week.”

Indeed, it’s been almost exactly a year. And while at times my grandfather appears to be doing so well, I know there are other times when he’s just one slow, weak heartbeat away from joining her. Sometimes I wonder what’s keeping him here.

Actually, I wonder almost daily.

Maybe he just really likes his buddy who deals blackjack at the MGM… He told me he’s looking for a new place to go bet horses, too… He loves the spa trips I send him on (he’s going again as a birthday gift from Trent and I…)…

Maybe Grandpa Sam really is so much larger than life, he won’t ever leave us. He’ll just keep going.


But a day of gambling ain’t exactly what it used to be.

Or maybe one day, he’ll play the best hand of solitaire ever, get in his chair, and fall asleep to the sound of Lucy, whispering his name.

I just want to see him one more time, one way or another.

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One thought on “88

  1. Margaret Wisniewski says:

    I truly hope you get your wish, Lisa. Just one more time. But he misses “his lady” as he told my friend at the casino today. Thanks for filling his days with simple pleasures. He is a lucky, lucky man, to have so many people who care about him so much. And you and Trent and Sarah and Payton are the best things in his life. After Lucy, that is. Love you all!

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