I just looked at the calendar and realized it's my grandfather's birthday. He'd be 89 today.
I have these great pictures from his birthday 17 years ago, which, hello. It totally doesn't feel like 17 years ago. It feels like five years ago. Why does time move faster once you're old?
Part of my job required me to take black-and-white photographs, so I always had a camera with me and also black-and-white film. And how many personal pictures do you think I have in black and white from this time? Whenever I'd go to the photo developing place, I'd end up feeling guilty and paying for the developing out of my own pocket, because half the work pictures would be of my cats, or my grandfather's birthday.
I love these pictures because I can tell throughout this entire afternoon we all had the giggles. My grandfather was not was you'd call a solemn person.
My grandfather could do an impeccable impression of the sound of a bottle opening and then the liquid pouring into the glass. It is an important thing for a grandfather to know how to do. Every time we ever talked on the phone, he'd say, "How are you? You're lookin' good!" It always annoyed my grandmother that he said that.
He figured out something cool when I was little. He was born in 1920, and I was born in 1965, and from the time I was 1, we could always work it out so we were the same age. Like, the year I was 1, he was 46, and 4 + 6 = 10, and 1 + 0 = 1.
This year he would be 89, 8 + 9 = 17 and 1 + 7 = 8. This year I will be 44; 4 + 4 = 8. I am so excited it still works out.
Look at my grandmother. She is about to spit up, she's laughing so hard. What on earth were we laughing at? My grandfather went by the name Chuck, and one year the bakery accidentally wrote, "Happy Birthday, Cluck!" on his cake, but I know it wasn't this particular year.
Aunt Mary, the one who likes to shop, was there, too, that day. She lives in Colorado. I've always liked this picture of her, the way the sun is streaming in.
I'm glad I took these pictures illegally with my work film, because it was my grandfather's last birthday. He died pretty peacefully five months later. We had all been in his room, laughing like we had been on this day, then when we left he died in his sleep, at the age of 72.
I was 27. We were both nine.