we call my husbands' grandfather phil, because that's his name, and because he is young for a grandfather.
phil has a wonderful sense of design and style, and would be a stereotypical gay man if he let himself. he's a warm, funny guy. he thinks outside of the box, and blurts out things the family wishes it could keep silent. so he was also the black sheep of the family.
until i came along, and my mother in law hated me more than phil made her nervous. phil and i used to talk often and we were almost always on the same page. it was wonderful.
one year one of his gifts to me was a cloisonne monkey, a bookmark dangle. i don't use bookmarks because i tend to read the whole book in one sitting, but the monkey was....special. especially ugly, but darling for it. it was charming and hideous and seemingly unique. and phil likes / demands thank you cards.
the monkey is adorable. it is so hideous it's cute. thanks, but please don't, ever, ever, ever again, get me something like this.
what a unique monkey! i never knew what i was missing until i unwrapped this. i will think of you whenever i look at it.
i never could have imagined such a gift as the monkey you sent me. i've shown it to many of my friends, and they are all amazed with it. it is unique and definately says 'phil' to me.
you get the idea. i never did send a thank you for that - just couldn't avoid the snark. but i truly treasure that monkey.
the best gift he ever gave me was 'packing' for a cat sculpture. it was dozens of little aliens - bendable little green people. it was an odd sensation, to reach in the box for the gift and feel....? what?
they're about 4 inches high, i laughed for a long time and smiled the entire day. i posed them all over the house, so did guests as a ritual. i gave some away to cherished and envious friends, and i still have some and it's been ten years. i smile when i see them around.
phil is actually my husbands' step grandfather, and now sadly a widower. when he lost his wife, he worried that we as a family would reject him because he wasn't actually related. but he'd been our step - father/grandfather for almost 40 years by then, so we paid him no attention and kept including him. and his eventual girlfriend.
i was the only contact with phil - my husband doesn't do phones / letters / etc, so i kept up the contact, for over 20 years. thank you cards, notes, etc., always me. news on the house? he knew from me. comparing the wee bits of information the in-laws shared to build the complete story? phil and i. sharing our warped sense of humor over some sad / ironic bit of family drama? that was phil and i.
only now he doesn't speak to me. my husband left, and phil said he had to stick with the family. nevermind it's not an acrimonious separation, never mind i was his best friend in the family, he's done.
he's in his local newspaper this month, famous for his style, his grace, his unique outlook. just out of curiousity, i googled his name - and there he was, smiling at me from the pixels.
i miss you.