I’m excited and nervous to be writing to you, and I hope that among the mountains of letters you probably receive each day, that this one will resonate enough with you to bring about a response.
I’m a big fan, but I’m not writing for myself. You see, in October my grandfather will be 90 years old. He’s the last grandparent I’ve got left alive, and he’s had a rough couple of years. In April 2008, his wife (my grandmother) was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She died in September of that year, and a lot of us thought he’d basically go along with her. You see, they’d been married for 61 years when she passed away, and none of us could imagine either of them without the other.
The following February, his eldest son, my uncle, lost a long battle with emphysema, and in May 2009, he lost his good friend and brother-in-law, too.
Still, Grandpa is plugging away. He has good days and bad days, but then, who doesn’t? He took a trip out to California last year to visit my cousin Cary, who lives in San Francisco now; it was Grandpa’s first flight in over 20 years, and he didn’t really enjoy the new security regulations. (True to form, he let the TSA folks know it, too!) And he still gets to see the family often, since most of us are close by. A couple of times a year, he gets out to the minor league baseball stadium and cheers on the team, eating hot dogs and french fries and enjoying the fireworks. He’s still living on his own, and he gets around the house in his bright red scooter. All I can say is—stay out of his way, or he could run you down with that thing!
Earlier this year, he decided he wanted to celebrate his 90th birthday with a party. It kind of surprised me that he wanted a party, but my dad and my aunt didn’t ask any questions: they just started getting things going. Grandpa loves his projects, and this one is no different. He’s chosen the food (barbecue), the music (country and western, “of course”), and supervised the guest list and distribution of the invitations.
Of course, the whole family is pitching in to help. My job? Well, I’m supposed to try to get the famous Ms. Dolly Parton to make an appearance! So I’m doing everything I can think of to get your attention, shorting of flying down to Tennessee to try and hunt you down! (I thought that might make it more likely you’d give me a restraining order than a “yes, I’ll come to the party.”)
Now Dolly, I know your schedule must be crazy. I can’t imagine that you are actually free, and willing to travel up to New Jersey, on October 2, 2010. But maybe I could convince you to send a card to my Grandpa Jerry? Or even record a little video wishing him a happy 90th birthday, and post it to your YouTube channel? I’d settle for a tweet if it were my birthday, but Grandpa doesn’t entirely understand what the internet is for, much less what the heck we do with Twitter.
You can reach me on twitter @sparklingwit, on Facebook, or right here via this blog… and I’ll also be sending you a copy of this letter to your official fan mail address, with my address and telephone number. Any token, any response that you can offer will be greatly appreciated, by my grandfather, my entirely family, and me.
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