Granddad at Play
BY CAROLYN RAPHAEL
Almost every night, sometime between 8:30 and 11:00 PM, my daughter, Melissa, calls her 82-year-old father to do the NY Times crossword puzzle on the telephone.
No matter how tired she is from helping her 11 and 15-year-old sons navigate school regulations during the Coronavirus pandemic, she insists on this shared exercise. She supplies contemporary references about streaming series that he doesn’t know; he offers knowledge of ancient history, like who Milton Berle was.
“And then there were the sleepaway-camp letters—one written in concentric squares…”
My husband, Larry, always liked to play games, especially with children. I first saw him leading a group of pre-teen boys on a nature walk with a large snake around his neck. His two grown children still talk of the original games he played with them: drawing puzzles or games on their brown paper lunch bags, painting pictures of people with running faucets for noses when they had colds (the “sniffle bags”), helping them with science projects for school, like the electronic game he built with a light that went on with the correct matching answer. And then there were the sleepaway-camp letters—one written in concentric squares so that the reader would have to keep turning the paper. Or the hilarious tooth fairy notes, where the cash-bringer kept getting lost on the way to her target.
Today, my husband makes up games for his nearby grandsons: baseball quizzes, age-appropriate crossword puzzles, creating definitions for made-up words. Three younger grandchildren just moved to California, but he’ll reach them too.
“I just smile and sometimes wipe away a tear when I hear my daughter’s phone call almost every night.”
Sometimes I pick up the phone to try one of the crossword clues, but I don’t stay long. I don’t want to intrude on this special link. I just smile and sometimes wipe away a tear when I hear my daughter’s phone call almost every night.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Carolyn Raphael
Granddad at Play was written by Carolyn Raphael, the proud grandmother of four boys and one girl.
Her fourth book of poetry, Grandma Poems—Not Too Sweet, explores the pleasures and problems of being a grandmother in today’s world.
Reach Carolyn at her website: carolynraphaelpoetry.com.