by Ellie Maziekien

He was very tall.
Imposingly so to this young grandchild.
With frosty white hair and sharp blue eyes that twinkled,
he had a brogue that got thicker as he got older, so my mother says.
He was a retired general and stood ramrod straight;
khakis were his "play" clothes, worn gardening or puttering.
I remember a day when he took me to the malt shop for a Coke;
I had to take three steps to his every one long stride.
He actually sat on a stool and drank a Coke himself.
I was so proud.
He had a cocktail every night
and he would let me dip my finger in and taste.
It was a Scotch Old Fashioned.
I can taste it still.
When I was cold he would take my small hand
in his two large ones, and rub it briskly between them.
He sang songs in a thin, reedy voice
and told me stories of having seen leprechauns
when he was a boy in Ireland.
As befitting a soldier,
he mended his own clothes
and woke up at five AM every day.
When I stayed at Grandma's house,
he would come to my door at around nine o'clock,
knock, poke his head in, and say
"Good afternoon. Time to be up."
He called me Honey Child.

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