My husband's grandfather passed away last week. He was 90 years old, which suddenly seems much too young.
I never knew my own grandfathers - one died years before I was born, and the other one soon after. My husband has been lucky enough to have three living grandparents, and for the last 10 years, I did too.
The first time I met him at a family gathering, we didn't really get to the introduction part. He saw us walk up and said "Hi, I'm the grandpa, give me a kiss." He really liked being the grandpa. I was rather shocked to see some of the little kids getting into the beer cooler - until I found out they were all fetching and carrying for Grandpa.
He thought of himself as Irish, and was proud of it. So I earned my spot in the family (and maybe my Santa cookies at Christmas) with this joke:
There was an old Irish priest who was just a bit too vocal in his dislike of the English. It got so bad that the Bishop had to talk to him, explain that there's a peace agreement now, and ask him to stop being so anti-English in his services. The priest agreed, promising not to mention England again.
The next Sunday was Easter, and all seemed to be going well. The old priest was moving along without a mention of England, telling the story of the Last Supper:
"...and the Lord said to them, 'take this bread and eat, it is my body...'"
"...and the Lord said, 'take this cup and drink, it is my blood...'"
"...and the Lord said unto them, "one of you will betray me."
"...and the Lord said, "Judas!"
"and Judas said, "blimey, gov'nor, you don't think it's me?"
May Grandpa Tom rest in peace, in a field of shamrocks.