Grandpa Garber, Mike and Me, 1975

I was inspired to write this poem when I read the suggestion in Happy: 50 Mindfulness and Relaxation Exercises to Boost Your Mood Every Day, where author Dr. Arlene K Unger suggests taking tickle time – remembering the giggles that arise when tickled and imagining being tickled. Well, I had no trouble with that – Grandpa Garber immediately showed up on my radar and took me back to wonderfully delightful days.

I love you, Grandpa Garber – thank you for all the joy you brought – and continue to bring – to our lives.

Don’t miss the bonus photo included at the end of this post.

 I see his jolly round face and his soft sweet 
 smile, and feel his regal and wise presence. 
 Mostly I remember his words infused 
 with a tenderness that flowed like a river
 from the wellspring of his heart. 
 He believed in serious work, spoiling us – 
 me and Mike - with $2 bills for good report cards. 
 He was a mischievous old devil, 
 short-sheeting our beds and teasing us
 with stories that made us sound like silly ducks. 
 But mostly he believed in the power of joy, 
 the power of fun and frolicking. 
 We play hide and seek for quarters 
 in his living room, and he sits on the floor 
 with us for a long game of monopoly. 
 Mostly what touches me is the tickling, 
 the way he would reach around 
 and put his big plump fingers gently in our sides, 
 and how we giggled and laughed and broke open 
 with big toothy smiles, our mouths open 
 like fish taking in water. 
 Remembering, I come alive, my spirit lifts
 and I find myself swimming gracefully 
 in the depths of life.  
Grandpa, Mike and I playing monopoly, 1975

This poem is part of an online collection I call All the Shapes of Joy.

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