I sat at the table as Christmas dinner was served and committed myself to watching carefully. Did Grandpa really have a story for every situation? I watched him carefully, feet swinging, as Dad carved the roast with the new electric knife and Mum and Aunty whizzed back and forth from the kitchen with last minute vegetables.
We said grace. We ate. We talked. We listened to each other. Even as children, we had a voice. We were heard, but mostly I liked to listen. We were happy together. We were family.
I looked at Grandpa carefully. I noticed he was getting older. As I grew taller and my chin was rising above the table, my feet nearer and nearer to touching the floor, he seemed to be correspondingly shrinking – a function of gravity and time, he explained. Grandpa always had great explanations. I accepted his aging as children do. I could not imagine life without him in it. He held up the roof of my world.
Then I saw Grandpa take a breath, and settle into storytelling mode in his place at the head of the table.
“And that reminds me…” Grandpa said.
“Here we go again,” muttered my cousin.