Growing up my great grandad was this untouchable figure-head, who appeared almost god like in my young eyes. He was a depression-era farmer who raised 8 children in a two bedroom house with little more than a firm hand and mischievous smile. He was Grant Wood's American Gothic come to life.
To his grandchildren and great-grandchildren he was a scruffy-faced, candy-loving gruff who teased, and tickled, and loved unconditionally. Despite the threadbareness of his pockets his generosity only seemed to grow as he aged, and it was always bestowed unexpectedly. On one such occasion he gave my mom a little money to spend on my siblings and I at Christmas.
My mom carefully picked out a small gift for each of us, wrapped it, and placed it under the tree with a tag that said "From: great grandad." I opened my soft package to reveal the prettiest red slipper socks with white snowflakes on the feet. My 8 year-old heart squealed with delight as I slipped them on and pranced around the living room. It was the perfect gift, and an instant treasure. One I still hold on to 20 years later.
The slippers are stretched a little thin, and the snowflakes have begun to fade, but every time I look at them I think of an idol of mine and just how much he meant to my family and to me. He may not have picked the gift out, but he is still the gift's source and for that reason they'll always be grandad's slipper socks. A gift that only get's better with age. -b.
(You can see a little bekuh tucked in next to the man himself, in the old photograph above.)