Every Sunday, my grandfather would take me to the convenience store near their home. He would let me choose my favorite ice cream and sit with me at one of the steel tables fitted with plastic chairs outside the shop. People would walk by and smile, but he would focus fully on me. I always chose either vanilla or chocolate. The other flavors were out of the question. Choosing was usually the most difficult decision of my weekend. My grandfather was a busy man but I don’t think anything brought him so much pleasure as seeing me enjoying myself, free to do as I pleased.
As grandpa grew older and weaker, he would give me a little bit of money and I would walk to the store myself. The ice cream would melt if I waited to get back home with it so I would eat it on the way back hoping to show him a little of what I had purchased. He would look over the dinner table where he was seated and express his approval. He always asked why I never bought him something and I would always smile my sheepish, guilty smile and then burst into laughter. Grandpa always brought the world to a standstill for me, especially on Sunday afternoons. I was usually too busy having a good time to worry about the details.