Goodbye, Grandpa

I gave this eulogy at my grandfather’s funeral this morning. He died just shy of his 98th birthday. No words can quite capture how special he was.

I was lucky enough to grow up in the same city as all four of my grandparents. I was even luckier to have one with me for 41 years. He was the only one of the four who met his great-grandchildren. He was called Lucky J for a reason.

No wonder he beat me most of the time in gin, one of our favorite things to do together. He always told me I shuffled too much – “Enough already!” he’d say, while I complained that he barely shuffled at all.

When I think of Grandpa, I think of an eternal optimist, someone who loved to laugh and make others laugh, and someone who was fun to be around. After all, how many people can say they gave their grandpa – known for his dirty sense of humor — a subscription to Playboy as a gift?

Grandpa never had great hearing, but it was ironic that despite two deaf granddaughters, he liked to bluff. If you asked, “What movie did you see?” he’d nod and smile. You don’t mess with the master; I knew when he was pretending to understand!

Grandma and Grandpa used to wear matching outfits – you know like those jogging suits you wear to do everything but jog? I bet they’re wearing them now, holding court at a bowling alley in the sky.

A long, full life is all any of us can hope for. Grandpa was a winner to the end.

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