There was a little wooden box that used to hide under my grandfather’s bed. This box hinted at a shiny surface, boasted a burgundy velvet lining, and kept prying fingers out via little brass lock. This only encouraged me to pad hesitantly into the bedroom, make sure that I was alone, then dart under the bed to drag the box out and stare at it. I would sit on the cool concrete floor and long desperately for what I knew was carefully sealed inside. Giddo would glide into his room every single time and catch me holding the box in my lap. He merely smiled and wordlessly produced a little brass key from his pocket, opened the impossible lock, brushed cigarette ashes that had escaped his handcrafted cigarette off of the wood, and lifted the lid to reveal glorious cellophane-wrapped candies of all sorts, blue and red and yellow and green! I would squeal with glee and voraciously help myself to the treasure, joyful and excited to finally be able to collect the reward I obviously deserved for being such a patient, respectful, over-all perfect granddaughter. Nowadays if I want candy, I can go get it myself from the countless stores that dot our city. And acquiring those confections doesn’t require me to sit, frustrated out of my wits, and wait for a pruney old man to sidle up beside me and open the box. I simply have to say the word, and any candy or chocolate is mine. The vendors know that if I have the money in my hands, I may as well own every morsel. That power, however tempting, provides no satisfaction. The candies I craved as a child belonged solely to my Giddo, only he could retrieve them for me, and because of that the flavored sugars that melted on my tongue were a thousand times more sublime. It was personal. It was quiet. It was special. It was sweet.
a mini memoir about my grandfather