Monday, March 16, 2009

Ode to St. Patty

In honor of St. Patty's day and my being half Irish, I thought it would be the perfect time to write about my Grandpa Frain. He passed away when I was in high school but I have a lot of memories and funny stories about him.

My Grandpa Frances Frain was one of thirteen siblings born in Ireland. He came over on a ship to the US in his early twenties...making him a first generation immigrant. This has always been so interesting to me.....not many people can say one of their grandparents was "right off the ship." I think I may have one or two great aunts/uncles left on his side in Ireland, along with cousins etc. Someday I want to go there and visit. A few years back they had a family reunion in Ireland, but the Fredericksburg Frains could not make it what with how many of us there are and how expensive flying is.

The thing I remember most about my Grandpa was his THICK Irish brogue. My dad can immitate him perfectly.

My dad told me growing up my Grandma had to cook him some form of potatoes every single night for dinner.

When I was little and we would visit family in New York, my Grandpa used to bounce me on his knee and play this lion game. I don't remember exactly what it was but there was some sort of lion character and bouncing on the knee. He used to make me a poached egg for breakfast before anyone else was awake.

I remember when he got older and my dad had to move him out of his house in Brooklyn. When my dad brought him home to our place in Stafford, my Grandpa had a bag of fresh New York bagels. My sisters and I saw him throwing WHOLE bagels in the front yard "for the birds." We of course got a kick out of this.

Another story I remember hearing was when my dad was about to take his test to get his driver's license. My Grandpa went behind his back and told his driving instructor to fail him on purpose. My dad thought FOR YEARS that he actually had failed his driving test...come to find out it was only because my Grandpa told the driving instructor to fail him. When my dad asked him why he did that he said "I didn't want you to be too confident."

My Grandpa was such an Irishman...even down to the drinking. I'm pretty sure scotch was his favorite. Or was it brandy. Sadly, his alcoholism is what eventually killed him. He was as strong as an ox though and lived to 76 years old despite having smoked and drank so much like he did.

I'm glad I knew my Grandpa. It makes me sad some of my siblings never got to meet him but I know I can always share the memories I have of him.

Happy St. Patty's Day!

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