My grandfather, Stanley 'Kris' Pesotski, would have been 86 today. As a child, I spent as much time as I could at his house (now Matt's), gardening, exploring the upstairs, listening to baseball on the radio and generally enjoying the whole experience. I was as close to him as I was to anybody I guess.
He could be a difficult person and he drank more than he should, but he generally took his anger out on others, saving the best parts of himself for his first grandchild. Though in physical pain most of his life, he worked his tiny plot of yard into the most amazing vegetable gardens I have ever seen, growing everything from grapes and peaches to horseradish and zucchini. And tomatoes. Mountains of tomatoes, eaten raw like apples, sliced with salt or sugar, cooked into paste or juice, or sold in a stand on the front yard.
Even after I went away to college (the picture at right is the only time he was on campus) we still stayed in touch. Every now and then he would call. I would stop by whenever I went home. We talked often about the Phillies. He got sick when I worked at Widener and I would take long lunches to visit him at the hospital or his house. I knew my friend would be going soon and I wanted to spend as much time as I could.
He's been dead for over 12 years now and I still find myself picking up the phone to call him now and then. I don't know what to make of that. I want to tell him how much my son John loves baseball and what a sweet, funny thing Emma said last night. I want to believe that he knows, that he has somehow seen, but I don't know for sure. I just hope so.
Happy Birthday Gramps! I miss you very much.