My Grandfather, My ‘Bona Fide’ Best Friend
Editor’s Note: In an effort to share the important stories about grandparents and families with our readers, from time-to-time, we provide a brief introduction to those articles with open source information. This is one such article. Our goal is to help bring a better understanding that family, no matter their origin or culture, is the cornerstone of our world.
By Wajahat Ali
Until his untimely death in 1986, my grandfather was my best friend. On weekend mornings he’d let my parents sleep in while he brought me downstairs to watch cartoons. We made regular trips to the San Jose, Calif., flea market where he’d buy me cheap toys and impress me with his masterful bargaining, which made them even cheaper. We’d watch Clint Eastwood movies, with him in his La-Z-Boy and me on his lap.
Like Donald Trump’s grandfather, my grandfather was an immigrant. Born in India, he moved to Karachi, Pakistan, with his wife and young children in 1952. In 1973, when my father, who’d already immigrated to the United States as a college student, was sick with Hodgkin’s disease, my grandmother and grandfather showed up in Chicago to care for him. They made America their new home, embracing bell bottoms and developing passions for Tom Jones and American westerns.
After my parents married in a ceremony in Pakistan, my mom immigrated here as well. Along with several of my aunts and uncles, they eventually moved to California. The entire family — along with baby me, born in 1980 — packed into a tiny apartment. My grandfather advised my father as he worked to start a business. My grandmother ran the kitchen with the discipline of a drill sergeant and the wisdom of, well, a grandmother. She taught my mother and aunts how to cook amazing Pakistani meals for two dozen people on a moment’s notice. Everyone pitched in to care for me, a team of in-house, bonus caregivers and companions whose value I appreciate even more now that I’m a father myself.
We were a bona fide family.
I thought of us as I read the latest in a series of rulings on the legality of Mr. Trump’s executive order temporarily banning travel by people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — popularly known as the “Muslim Ban.”
Feature image: Credit Patrick T. Fallon/Reuters
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