FaceTime with Grandpa Ron

My Dad’s first grandchild was born in a city almost four hours away from him.

Shortly after, my mom started a graduate school program not too far from our apartment. This meant, among other things, she got to see new baby Charlie once a week.

My dad found this whole situation untenable.

Dad came up with all kinds of reasons to “be in the neighborhood” so he could pop in to see the baby, but it wasn’t enough for him.

So, one day, he wrote baby Charlie a letter and included a bunch of pictures so the tiny baby would remember his face.

He put in more effort than you’d imagine, rounding up those photos. As the guy behind the camera, he didn’t have a wide selection of pictures featuring his face to choose from. He cut himself out of a few pictures, added an old shot from his days with the Baltimore Colts, and sent some random — cropped with a scissors — pictures for us to “place around the crib.”

He was a sweet, funny, dramatic man.

I thought about all of this because today I get to see my oldest grandchild, who is also Charlie’s daughter.

I live too far away from her too, and I should have asked her parents, Charlie and Tara, to post pictures of me around her crib so she’d remember me. (Fortunately we have a different kind of FaceTime these days, so babies who live too far away can get to know their grandparents.)

Even with that modern technology, though, I should be writing her letters.

So, I’m going to enjoy myself immensely this weekend, squeezing my sweet little New Jersey bagel.

And, when I get home, I’m going to write her a letter.

My Dad wrote Charlie this letter 36 years ago when he thought he wasn’t getting enough FaceTime with his first grandchild. It reads “Yes Charlie I do exist. You do have two grandfathers. Although your grandmother tries to hide my existence, I’m sure after your mother places these pictures around your room at your eye level you will recognize me when I see you Monday nite. Your Grandfather Ron
He included random pictures like this one, in which he cropped himself out of golf foursome.
And this one, which he also trimmed with a scissors.
And this one from the year he played for the Baltimore Colts. We have easier ways to FaceTime these days. But, even with that, nothing beats a good, old fashioned letter. Except an in-person squeeze. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a baby to hug.

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