Visits From Grandpa

My grandpa comes to visit when really great things happen to me. The first time was when I graduated Northwestern University. We were at the house having a small party for me with about 4 of my friends, my godmother, & an aunt & uncle. We were about to cut the cake when suddenly we ALL smelled cigar smoke. Dad thought our upstairs tenant was smoking, but we all knew he didn’t smoke. We stood around the cake mulling it over when myself & one of my oldest friends who knew Grandpa both realized it was HIS cigar smoke we were all smelling! Grandpa had come to celebrate with us so we welcomed him & continued on with the party. His cigar smoke smell lingered & didn’t leave until the last guest also left.

The next time was when I got my doctorate. As I was in the elevator on the way to give my oral defense for my dissertation I was incredibly nervous. One of my professors serving on my dissertation committee was in the elevator with me giving me a pep talk. Suddenly we both began smelling cigar smoke & he says to me, “you haven’t picked up smoking cigars, have you?” I laughed & said no, it’s Grandpa. He took it all in stride & said out loud, “Grandpa, smoking is NOT allowed in the elevators.” Grandpa never liked being told what to do & the smell grew stronger. As the elevator opened we both got out & my prof turns to me & says, “your grandpa is kind of rude!” Yes, he was, but I loved him anyway.

A couple of days later I got taken out to eat with my dad, father-in-law, husband, & one of my best friends. The seating was outside on the patio & suddenly we’re smelling cigar smoke & they’re all wondering who was smoking, looking around it was no one, & I turned to Dad & said, “doesn’t that smell like Grandpa’s cigar?” He laughed & said that Grandpa was just showing how proud he was of me. I was the first in my family to attend college & now only one of two PhD’s.

After my graduation I got married the following weekend. Again, at the church Grandpa was there creating quite a stir with his cigar smoke. Everyone smelled it & quite a few did NOT like it at all.

Next visit was five years later, the day my daughter was born. I had her c-section & there she was glaring up at us all mad as hell for having disturbed her when the OR got filled with the smell of cigar smoke & it was INTENSE. The 2 doctors were all angry asking who was smoking, don’t they know this is a sterile environment? The nurses were all flustered looking around ,but it was NO ONE. I laid there smiling and said out loud, “Hi, Grandpa! Come meet your great-granddaughter!” Then suddenly Ariel looked up at the thin air & SMILED. It freaked everyone out. She really looked like she was looking up at someone leaning over her (my husband was holding her at the time & Ariel hadn’t even had her first bath yet). When they took her for her bath the smell left. I think Grandpa went with her to be sure she’d be okay. It freaked out the entire staff in that room with us. Later that night in a dream Grandpa told me he quit smoking cigars. I thought, what a funny dream, but then 14 years later I found out he really did quit!

Grandpa had not been back since, until Sunday, Jan. 27th, 2013 at around 5 PM. I was coming down the stairs of our house when I began to smell an old musty smell. I stood there wondering if I needed to vacuum & knew I did, but the house has never smelled musty. It smelled like the house was filled with very old furniture or had been locked up & empty a long time. I went completely downstairs & the smell was gone. I went back up the stairs and the smell was limited to just the landing midway up the stairs! So I got down on all fours to smell the carpeting there. It wasn’t the carpet & I only smelled the smell as I was standing up. Then it hit me. That was the smell of my Grandpa’s apartment!! It was filled with old things, was right next to the attic that really smelled musty, so his apartment had an old musty, but not unpleasant smell, to it. I began to cry & thanked him for coming to see me, then for the first time since 1979 I heard his voice & he said, “you see, I told you I’d quit! Now, show me your balls.”

He meant the baseballs that Ernie Banks & Ferguson Jenkins had signed for me earlier that day. So I took him upstairs into our bedroom & took the balls out & showed him. I cried like a baby doing that, too, I’m not ashamed to admit. My grandpa was everything to me & I was everything to him. He died when I was 11, but he’s still with me & he comes every time something wonderful happens. He was a huge Cubs fan too & he loved Ernie as much as I did. Thinking back on it, I realize now he must have also been with us at the event where I met Ernie because both my daughter & husband had complained that it smelled really musty there.  Once Grandpa came to our house I realized the smell at the venue must have been him so he was actually with me when I met Ernie Banks.

I’m sure the next time something extra special happens Grandpa will come back for another visit.  This proves that we are never far from the thoughts and hearts of our deceased loved ones.

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