There was a man who never smiled…
Who sat on his couch all day –
Sometimes wrapped in a blanket and sometimes not,
Watching his grandchild play with her toys.
Often he would hold the girl in his lap,
And read her fairytales from an old, black book:
Like Hansel and Gretel and the story of Heidi.
Or he would teach her German – Schmetterling and Auf Wiedersehen –
Or show her how to count.
Some days, the man taught her about chores,
Like how to dry the dishes.
(But never the knives)!
And on other days, he taught her about school,
Showing her how to read or tell time –
Auf Deutsch, natürlich.
He hugged the girl frequently and kissed her often,
And snuck her money when her parents weren’t looking.
And when they were looking.
And he explained to her why she shouldn’t jump on the furniture,
Or put a plastic bag over her head.
The man protected her from the world
(In his eyes, she was a perfect angel)
And when anyone raised their voice to the girl,
He would shield her with his menacing glare.
They ate lunch together, too:
Usually macaroni, but scrambled eggs on Sunday!
And afterwards they sat on his couch –
To read or count or tell time
(In English and in German).
Then when she got bored,
The girl would get up to play with her toys
And proudly, the man would watch.
And every day the girl would grin –
Bigger and bigger with each passing moment.
Because she had a secret about the man who never smiled:
She could see him smiling all along.
Dedicated to my Opa, the best grandpa anyone could ever have. I know you're smiling down on me from Heaven.