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Grandpa Said, “Hang On Tight!”

By Grandpa Bob Niles

“Grandpa your fingers are so cold” squeals his two year old granddaughter.

“Hang on tight! I don’t want to let you go.” He laughed, as she pulled her right foot in his left shoe ahead of her other mismatched foot and shoe combination. Together as one his legs straddled around her body, while she wearing his shoes, march down the grassy flowered wedding isle. The brave prince was going to marry his beautiful princess, in the most beautiful wedding ceremony  ever imagined by a grandpa and his granddaughter Chip.

“Slow down!” She demanded, as princesses sometimes do, “My legs are too short and my toe-zzies are too small for your shoes! And Grandpa,..I mean my prince have the bunnies throw more rose pedals on the grass and make the Blue Birds sing a little  louder too,….please.”

It was to be the most beautiful wedding ceremony the Lost Forest had ever seen. Cinnamon the bear married the two royals at the Wishing Tree in the center of the forest. Cotton ball tea was served on an assortment of fashionable mismatched plastic cups and plates. And the royal reception was attended by a large assortment of stuffed  animals, dolls, McDonald Happy Meal toys and a stick with a horses head on it.

The wedding ended when the princess turned into a unicorn and galloped off to save her baby being attacked by mean giant in the living room.

Great memories were had that morning by the only one in the room who had the ability of long term memory. So many beautiful memories of imagined events, shared by two, but in the long run only  remembered by one. And as a grandpas memory fades of precious moments shared, so will the time spent in the future battling fiery dragons, imprisoning  mean giants and marrying magical princesses.

grandpa with dragonFor grandpas, just like Puff the Dragon their little Jackie Paper stops coming around too. Long before young feet can easily maneuver oversized shoes, wedding marches end, and the kingdom of the Lost Forest falls silent.

Other things now take up the princesses life. Oh she’s still a princess and will always be  in his life but he’s no longer her brave prince. For princesses grow up and have no need of an imagined prince. They put away fairy tale fantasy with all it’s backpacks, pajamas and clothing that goes with it. It’s now TV and movie stars that are in boy bands with a No. 1 hit song that interest her.

Life gets very busy for his little princess with little time for grandpas. School starts and new friends fill her time with a common love for everything she loves and how she feels. So many things happen to your young princess as you sit further and further back on the sidelines trying to keep up with her events. Soon your just that guy on the end of the table that gives thanks for the food at Christmas.

By now she has long forgotten playtime with her once brave, dragon fighting, giant killing  prince. And he, now weak in flesh and hit and miss with memory lay fighting for every breath in a real hospital. He can’t remember what he had for lunch, and thinks  everyday is Sunday but he remembers their beautiful weddings in the Lost Forest, and the precious times they shared.

High heels clicking and car keys jingling announce princess has come to see grandpa. Room 703 finds Grandma in a chair by his bed. A potted plant and three cards make it his room. Her Grandpa is now not her grandpa for a evil cancer has distorted what was. It was easier to accept the inevitable if you pretended it was not him. Her brave prince. For she remembers a flicker of a special moment they shared so long ago in an imaginary hidden forest. She had gotten so busy with life and Grandpa had got older weaker and slower in mind and body. It just got to hard to try and communicate with him.  Chip was sure he had long forgotten the wedding march. But there seemed a glimmer of recognition of his princess in his tired fading eyes.

“He knows it’s you Chip.” Grandma says as she gets up so Chip can sit beside him. “He’s been asking about you. He thinks it’s Sunday. When you were young you came over every Sunday. You and him had the best of times! Remember? Look, he’s reaching out his hand for you.”

“Grandpa your fingers are so cold.” Chip states gingerly taking his hand almost in fear.

“See how he’s holding on so tight.” Grandma whispers. “It’s like he doesn’t want to let you go.”

Bob is happy grandpa to these four cuties
Bob Niles’ Grandchildren – Peyton, Charlotte, Emmett & Gabriella

Editor’s note: GRAND loves to publish contributed stories/articles from our readers. Thank you, Bob, for sharing this lovely story and sketch!  



If you have a grandparent story to share, please send to editor@grandmagazine.com.


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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