Happy Birthday Grandpa (21)


Yesterday was the birthday of a very special person, my grandpa . You want to know what a grandfather actually is? That's what I asked myself. At first I looked into the dictionary. A grandfather or groß-va-ter, is the father of your father or  mother. Grandfather is derived from the French grand-pere. But other names are also common in German-speaking countries. Opapa in the southern German-speaking countries, or Neni in Swiss German. On Letzebuergesch (Luxembourgish) the grandpais called Bopa. Many names so for someone special.

In East Timor, there is also a place Opa. Maybe it was named after one?
One often hears teenagers insulting an older man as Grandpa. Maybe they are right and he really is a Grandpa, why grandpa is a term of abuse for them though, I can’t understand. A certain age just belongs to a grandpa.

But what makes a grandpa so special, we still don’t know. So we rely on our own experience.
My grandpa, is my mother's father. That’s true to the book. However, he wasn’t in East Timor, yet.


My grandpa is a person with a lot of patience. In the ever-recurring question, "Will you read me a story?" he took out one of his notebooks and always read me a bedtime story,  he himself experienced. And one more. And another, until my hunger for stories was saturated. My grandpa is someone who has already experienced a lot more than anyone else I know, and also knows a lot more. At least, more than I know. And he knows also answers to almost all questions I have. Well, he's also a bit older than me.

Something very precious, my grandpa owns, is standing in his living room, a cabinet that is. From the outside, this cabinet looks quite normal, like a cabinet just looks, with doors and drawers and a glass case. However, this cabinet also has a magic door.
But this is something not only my grandpa owns at his house, it is widespread among grandmothers and grandfathers. There is a compartment with a never-ending source of candy! I’m sure they all have probably concluded a secret treaty with the dentist nearby. When homesick, got a scratch, rain or sunshine, you always could, and may still, take out something from that tray. Of course, not before dinner.

When I was little, my grandpa had a real adventure playground in the house, the attic. How many hours did I spent there? And what fun it was to discover everything that was hidden there! In this little fantasy world nothing could happen to me. Today the whole world is my playground, but I sometimes still crave for this.

For some years now, the basement in Grandpa's house is a certain attraction for me. There are all these books, most unread yet by me, and he allows me to choose among them. My grandpa also is a man with a big heart who likes to give, what he owns.

A great joy is always the "go over the hill" with my grandpa. He knows all the mushrooms and birds on the way and at every bend and every way he knows stories and history. He shows the valley in all directions and knows his way around so well that you would like to have a recording device with you  to keep all this knowledge for the next generation.
Sporty my grandpa is also. He, like me, has no driver's license, and is therefore always on his way by bike or on foot. And he goes bowling, not even unsuccessful.

My grandpa can of course do many other great things, sing, cook, climb a rickety ladder to the cherry, help out of trouble, write wonderful letters, ... (...) But I’m sure, everyone who has a grandpa, knows what exactly makes him that wonderful person he is.

During the research for this small article I have used the all-knowing Internet search engine Google. For the word Großvater 1,020,000 entries appear. For the word Opa there are already 16,200,000 results. Still far too little to appreciate a grandfather, in my eyes.

Meanwhile, my grandpa is no longer just Grandpa, no, he has already become a great-grandfather. And so he yesterday celebrated his 87th birthday in the company of his ever growing family, friends and acquaintances.

Congratulations.

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