My Admirable Grandpa Grigory

Delta Winds cover 2007Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College


My Admirable Grandpa Grigory

Elena Carlsson

I called him "Ded." This is what we call our grandpas in Russia. This short and not too expressive word I said one hundred times per day. "Ded, do you have a some money; I want ice cream so much!" "Ded, I have to go to the library; don't you want to go with me?" "Ded, I have an essay assignment in my Russian class; maybe you have some idea what I can write about?" "Ded, I can't solve this math problem and I need some help!"

"There is no problem that we can't solve together!" he answered, and "together" we solved it. Every time he gave me the understanding that I did it, and he helped just a little. Of course, I liked this method and firmly believed in my merit, and with bright eyes I rushed to the kitchen to my grandma, who cooked dinner for us, and proudly showed her my solved problem.

"Ded, Sergey from our neighborhood is a very bad and rude boy. You know him, don't you? We were fighting yesterday, and I hate him!" I looked at his warm blue eyes, and understood already that my wonderful friend, Ded Grigoriy, had thought up something to make us friends again because he knew how much I liked this boy. Next day, when I came back from my school, I discovered Sergey with my grandpa together playing chess. "O, good morning, Sweetheart. I want to introduce you to my young friend Sergey; he is our neighbor and a very good chess player. I hope that you'll become good friends because you like chess too."

He had a unique talent to join people and make them friends, and he was a very good friend who always came to help. "Ded, tomorrow we have a party at school, but I don't have any new shoes" He understood that it was the first party in my life, and even though he didn't have enough money, we went to the store to buy new and beautiful shoes for me. He was my best friend, and I still don't know if I have had a better friend in my life.

I liked to spend time with him because it was always interesting and educational. I liked to go with him to the library and then read books outside our home under the tree in our backyard. The leaves of this old tree rustled and relaxed us, and Ded and I enjoyed our reading and our conversation. He always taught me to be nice with people; he solved any conflict peacefully and quietly, and he always gave good advice.

Where did he get this wisdom? He lived not an easy life. He worked hard, and he was the breadwinner in the family. He had been through wartime years (it was the brutal and long World War II) and had stayed alive. He lost his health in this war, but he never complained. Instead, he tried to saturate his day with his eternal love and care for his children and grandchildren. He always enjoyed every single day and event, and he always taught us to be optimistic, energetic, and appreciative people because he knew what life is and how important it is to value and enjoy every present moment of it. "Enjoy your day today and never put things off for tomorrow because you don't know if it'll come." He lived by this simple, wise slogan, which his offspring learned very well and were always thankful for.

"Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are" was another saying he tried to teach us. Many times these simple words of advice rescued me and many other people from making mistakes with our choice of friends and the start of horrible relationships. Like any teenager I was involved once in bad (but very "significant" for me!) company; we learned how to become "modern people." We learned how to smoke and drink, and spent time very merry and cool My grandpa spent more than one evening with me to explain what it means to be a modern and confident person. "Knowledge and kindness make a man a man. Try to find the friends not just for fun, but for a real friendship and real support." Thanks for your wisdom, Ded; I will remember your advice all my life.

Grandpa Grigoriy created a special rule in our family: every Sunday we got together for a family dinner. What a wonderful time it was! I remember going with my amazing grandpa to the flea market to shop for groceries. We bought full baskets of fresh and aromatic fruits, colorful and appetizing vegetables, excellent meat, and, of course, different sweets for the kids. My grandma cooked wonderful, very healthy, simple and delicious Russian food such as pelmeny, golubtsy, borsch, kotlety, piroshky, and many more. We really enjoyed this dinner and not just because of this delicious food, but also for the wonderful and kind atmosphere that was present there.

My grandpa liked to see people happy and cheerful. During the dinner we asked him to sing; he had a very beautiful voice. He always started with our favorite Russian song, Moros, about the beauty of Russia's great nature. The voice of my grandpa was very nice and clear and sounded so deep and tender that the hearts of everybody were filled with warmth. I was always proud when my Ded told me, "Lenochka, begin to sing." I started, and he continued, and then all the voices joined together, and our song sounded so majestic and beautiful that everybody forgot about any problems, which sank in this sea of sounds Yes, Grandpa, you always could make us happy because you were such a light and cheerful person.

Many years have gone since my Grandpa Grisha passed away. But I still love him, remember and admire him, and very often talk with him and ask him for his friendly advice and light support.