Thursday, February 16, 2006

My Zaideh
Posted by Sam at 1:56 PM | tags:

My grandfather was an amazing, talented, and generous man who could build anything with little more than his two hands (his friends/co-workers/family always said he had "hands of gold"). After years of fighting numerous maladies and struggling through various surgeries, my grandfather passed away on Friday night. The funeral was yesterday.

The rabbi gave an inspiring eulogy that connected the intricate construction of the ark built for the ten commandments to my grandfather's skilled craftsmanship. My cousin wrote a beautiful poem. I helped to lower the casket into the grave. It was an emotionally trying day for the entire family, and my grandfather will be missed tremendously.

Out of the many wonderful stories and characteristics, there are two that I'd like to mention here; Two things that I'd like to be remembered about my grandfather... actually, to my family, he was called "zaideh" (pronounced zay-dee), which is yiddish for grandpa. Anyway, two things about my zaideh:

1) My zaideh could whistle better than anyone I have ever known. It was a beautiful and magical sound... the kind of sound that makes you pause whatever you're doing and just listen. It was truly incredible.

2) I don't know if any of my readers are old enough to remember the frightening, storytelling, animatronic bear, Teddy Ruxpin... Oh, sure you do. You fed him special audio cassettes and he told you a story while he moved his mouth and blinked occasionally. See? Horrifying for a small child... Anyway, Teddy Ruxpin was like the Tickle Me Elmo of 1986. And for Hanukah that year, my little sister wanted one... badly. But, like the Tickle Me Elmo drought of xmas two-thousand-and-whatever, Teddy Ruxpins were scarce. No, not just scarce. They were non-existant. But my zaideh had priorities. Priority one: making sure his grandchildren had everything they had ever wanted. So, he spent hours on the phone, then hours in line waiting as a truck was unpacked at a department store. He fought through the throngs of other xmas shoppers, battled his way to the front of the line, paid twice the retail price of Teddy Ruxpin, and finally, managed to obtain the talking, animatronic, bear. On Hanukkah, he gave the wrapped Teddy Ruxpin to my little sister, whose eyes grew bigger with every tear of the paper. She was overjoyed, but my zaideh was even more so. By giving to his granddaughter, he in turn, received the only Hanukkah gift he had ever truly wanted: the happiness of his grandchildren. My zaideh was amazing like that.

Sigh... Honestly, I wasn't planning on blogging about this. After all, we tend to keep it light and jovial around here. And, as goth as I am pretend to be, a funeral is an intense melancholic event. But I created sam bot dot com as a personal experiment... to chronicle the thoughts and occurances that are relevant and important to me. And surely, the death of my grandfather qualifies. Furthermore, talking about and sharing memories of a passed loved one is a big step in the healing process. And it feels good too. So, umm, thanks for reading...

Comments: 8 | Post a Comment | Permalink

Sam, thank you for sharing. and please pass on my condolences to your family.

and in light of this new information i'd like to retract my wise crack about he coffee from last nite.

Comment By bryan on February 16, 2006 4:04 PM

Well done.

Comment By TheDarkLordDerfla on February 16, 2006 4:22 PM

sorry to hear about your grandfather Sam...he sounds like he was an amazing person.

Comment By Hayley on February 17, 2006 7:34 AM

Awwwe Sam, i am so sorry to hear about your Zaideh. I will never miss hearing the stories you tell about him. : )

~Jenn

Comment By Anonymous on February 17, 2006 8:36 AM

Like the rest of the men in your family, he's one sexy dude.

Sorry champ.

Comment By Dr. Kennedy on February 17, 2006 10:30 AM

I'm so sorry to hear about your Zaideh, Sam. I hope you're doing ok!

Comment By Micah MacAllen on February 17, 2006 12:50 PM

Sam,

I'm truly sorry. He sounded like a good man and a great grandfather. I hope you and your family are doing ok.

Comment By Blackwatch on February 17, 2006 3:42 PM

Sorry for your loss, Sam. However, it sounds like you'll have some of those memories forever... and thats a great thing.

-markd

Comment By Anonymous on February 19, 2006 8:59 PM

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Sam Who!?
Sam is an amazing and humble guy. Once, he rushed into a burning building, up six flights of stairs to save a kitten from certain death. He speaks eight languages, has mastered three varieties of martial arts, is a wine expert, and is a pulitzer prize winning author. Sam is an international heart-throb who prefers a quiet evening at home knitting afghans for the homeless, to the go-go, glitz and glamor of the party scene. I think the day he won the silver medal for ballroom dancing at the 98 olympics was the happiest of his life. Pretty impressive for a guy who never finished the 8th grade. - Carrie, 04
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