The little girl sat beside her grandfather, severely crippled with Rheumatoid Arthritis. She would never forget their times together. He wore blue-striped, broadcloth pajamas, hanging loosely on his skeletal frame. She was “grandpa-sitting” while her grandmother went to the market. But this wasn’t a chore, it was great fun.
He wagged his finger, which he couldn’t straighten, and finished another story. Then he rolled his eyes toward the kitchen, indicating that it was time.
Eager to participate in their tradition, she went into the kitchen and pulled down the silver handle on the Frigidaire refrigerator. She squeezed her fingers under the white, metal vegetable drawer and pulled out a Sky Bar. This was their secret. No other grandkids knew about it.
She returned to sit beside him and placed the candy on the rose-trimmed metal TV tray. She unwrapped it slowly. Inside were four milk chocolate pillows with different fillings. He tried to convince her to change up the eating order, but it never worked. She remained steadfast: vanilla, caramel, peanut and then chocolate! He savored, with his eyes. She with her tongue. After he died, she ate a Sky Bar whenever she wanted to remember him.
AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me as toddler wishing someone would grab the handle and take me to grandpa’s house. And my grandfather when he was still upright. He was confined to bed for over half of his life.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda McKenney has been writing for most of her 68 years, most recently experimenting with creative nonfiction. This essay is part of a larger memoir about her grandfather, Arthur. She’s not even sure if they still make Sky Bars, because she stopped looking. (Author photo taken in spring 2015 by the author’s husband.)