An Open Letter to My Grandfather

Grandpa, remember when you caught a fish for me with your bare hands?

Together, we drove around the Lehigh Valley searching for horse pastures.

You taught me how to feed a horse an apple, fingers held tightly together,

palm turned upward.

Grandpa, I love you because you have shown me so many things: how to ice-skate,

to swim, to dive.

We swam in Sailor’s Lake and Wallenpaupack and dove off big boulders.

In the fall you raked mounds of leaves that rose like small elephants on the front

lawn in Coopersburg.

Pixie and I jumped in every one and scattered brown parachutes to the wind.

You surprised me with my own rink on Christmas morning, hosing down the yard

to make a sheet of silver-smooth ice.

Together we walked up the mountain and rescued a tiny fir tree,

 Little Pocono.

Grandpa, remember how we danced the polka with me standing on your stockinged feet?

We practiced driving in your Dodge that had no power steering.

You are special because you truly live your life by the Golden Rule.

You taught me to try to live my life that way, too.

You are my teacher, my best friend, my hero.

You are the sun and the moon and the stars.

You are my universe.

I will always love you.

Your granddaughter,


I am writing a poem each day of April to celebrate National Poetry Month. My grandfather was a maker of many things. Read Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s With My Hands: Poems About Making Things.

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