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"As a young boy, I looked up to my grandfather more than I even knew. He was, and still is, an incredible person with unmatched brilliance and an unfailing wit that'll cut the stupid off of any conversation at one hundred yards. There are no great war stories to be told, no hidden trials or triumphs, just a man who worked hard and made his family happy. That's part of what makes him such an influential figure, his stoic simplicity. There's a lot to say about my grandfather, a lot of good and a lot that inspires, but the biggest thing is that he is one of the most selfless, family-devoted people I've ever met. In fact, he is the most.
I remember as a kid, sitting down to Sunday dinner at my grandparents' house. No matter what we had, the time of year or the work he had to do, my grandfather was the last person to make it to the table. This was a bit of a running joke in the family and I didn't pick up on it at first, but the reason was that my grandfather was always making sure everyone else had everything they needed. He'd pour the kids a glass of milk, double check the dessert in the oven, tend to the grill, etc. Small things, but it mattered to him.
Grilling remains one of my grandfather's favorite activities. He's not pretentious about it, he's happy with his cheap old propane thing and you won't find him rambling about a secret recipe. All you'll hear comes once the food is ready, when he checks in with everyone to make sure they're enjoying the food. That is, unless you take his burger or his cut of steak. It's a quality thing. He's human, and even though he's been grilling since Eisenhower was in office, he might char a patty too much or get a filet a little undone. Even if nobody else can find a flaw, my grandfather makes damned sure that nobody ever gets an inferior meal. So he snags what he deems to be the lesser piece.
Writing about this makes it seem like my grandfather never did anything really big in the world, and maybe his impact has been limited to the people who have actually met him, but that's all he'd really want anyway. I've run into people who worked with my grandfather when he was in insurance, as well as those who he worked with at the post office, and they still respect him to this day. It's a little more than I can really hope for, but I still like to think that my own grandchildren can find a similar role model in me.
Oh, and he does love cigars, in case you were wondering. I guess that's one reason I love them too!" - Kyle from Southington, CT