toasting ninety years of youth
It was on a blessed Easter Sunday that Edward and Catherine Schwartz found themselves welcoming their eighth child into the world as they celebrated the resurrection of Christ. It is rather fitting that this Easter Sunday ninety years later, the Schwartz family will celebrate the life of that same child, who happens to be my grandfather.
That’s right: my dear old grandpa is turning ninety. Don’t let his age fool you, though – he is still full of youthful energy and wit. His mischievous grin is proof that he’s usually up to no good. Thankfully, Grandpa has several hobbies to keep him out of trouble: working out during the winter months, golfing during the summer, hunting during the proper seasons, and wine-making year-round, to name a few. I often assist him in his wine-making hobby as an official taste tester.
Growing up, I was always fascinated by Grandpa’s stories. His life was full of adventure, from the time he was a little tyke growing up on the farm to his years in the Army Air Corps during World War II and even into the years beyond the war when he met Grandma and started their family.
Everything was an adventure the way Grandpa told it, and I learned a lot during Grandpa’s story times. I had personal history lessons about the Great Depression, World War II (tales of Africa, India, Burma and all over the US), the post-War years, Ohio State University, the growth of the auto industry, the dawn of technology, etc. Sometimes his stories went over my head. I would start to zone out when Grandpa got to talking about the first computer at Ford Motor Company and all the business-y stuff of the auto industry. (Sorry, Gramps – it’s not my thing!) Stories of farm life in Ohio were among my favorites. Grandpa even taught me the whole process of curing a ham! Of course, he also taught me how to make a corncob pipe, which he first did at age six…
In addition to the history lessons, Grandpa has taught me many other things throughout the years – priceless life lessons that go beyond wine tasting, story-telling, ham-curing and corncob pipe-making. The most important of these are to love and laugh. Grandpa and I spend a lot of time laughing. He loves to tease me and loves it even more when I tease him back. That man certainly knows how to bring out my feisty side, and I adore him for it!
It’s a good thing Grandpa is getting his youth back (or so he claims after finding a few black hairs among the white blanket covering his head), because he still has stories to tell, wine to make (so I can taste) and granddaughters to tease.
On Easter Sunday, I will raise my glass to toast my beloved grandpa:
Grandpa, now that you are ninety, I pray you will finally be able to stay out of trouble and keep what’s left of your halo clean. May your days be overflowing with love of family, laughter of friends, unbelievable golf scores (we wouldn’t believe them even if they were believable), successful hunting trips and Buckeye victories. And may your wine cellar never run dry!!
I love you, Grandpa! Happy Birthday!
To which my grandpa will reply with a hearty, “I’ll drink to that!!
UPDATE: I’ll have you know that I predicted my grandpa’s reaction the the toast perfectly!!!