From as far back as I can remember, my grandpa, who I have always referred to as Pop-pop, has always been someone who I have admired. My complete admiration of Pop-pop actually began because I thought Pop-pop’s real name was, in fact, popcorn. And this, of course, was truly incredible to my 4-year-old self, so much so that I have vivid memories of telling my preschool friends that I loved my grandpa because his real name was Popcorn. Of course, the next time I got to see Pop-pop, I was so excited to talk about this with him. I ran right over to him, and whispered in his ear, “Is Pop-pop your nickname for your real name, Popcorn?”. I remember Pop-pop started smiling and laughing to himself. He looked down at me and said, “Well, yes!”. That moment confirmed to me that Pop-pop was actually legendary, and that moment made me want to be just like him.
Fortunately for me, Pop-pop was the best possible role model I could have chosen. Pop-pop was a man who made the most of every moment and every single thing in his life, even the most ordinary ones. I remember sitting next to Pop-pop at the kitchen table drawing flowers on a piece of computer paper. Flowers have always been my go-to drawing of choice, so this was the usual sketch for me. Pop-pop, however, found a way to make that moment extraordinary. From helping me add a flower pot underneath my flowers to then suggesting I add a table underneath the flower pot to then finessing the background so that the entire paper finally became a piece of art that we created together, just the two of us, Pop-pop always knew exactly how to spice up life to make it the loveliest. When I got to high school and began taking every possible art class offered to me, I knew I wanted to use that same sort of Pop-pop-style spice in my own art. I was always so proud to see him, so I could show him the artwork I created. I loved seeing his reactions to what I had made and really valued his opinions. I absolutely have always felt a special sort of indescribable closeness with Pop-pop because of our shared love of art and our bond that truly cultivated because of it.
In addition to all of this, Pop-pop was also extremely funny. In a lot of ways, my own humor mirrors his. Back when I was in middle school, I remember visiting Pop-pop and Nona when they were in the middle of doing Weight Watchers. Nona was explaining to everyone at the dinner table what Weight Watchers was, and why it meant they were not having the same dessert as all of us grandchildren. As she was explaining this, I looked over at Pop-pop, who was rolling his eyes, probably because there were several desserts laid out including cake, cookies, ice cream, and pizzelles. When Nona left the room, Pop-pop waved me over and asked me to get him some dessert before Nona came back. When I returned with his dessert, he laughed and told me it would be our little secret. Now, I do the same things when I am with my friends. If we are all out to eat and someone goes to the bathroom, my friends and I will steal some fries off their plate while they are gone, and of course deny these actions ever happened when they return. I like to think this especially is what Pop-pop would have wanted for me to learn from him!
My grandpa, Pop-pop, also liked to keep things short and sweet, so I will do the same here today. Pop-pop was a smiley grandpa that I will always, always remember for his loving attitude, his funny comments, and his commitment to making bright and beautiful art no matter what. Pop-pop, I love you so much, and I’ll be seeing you!