He was sitting by himself outside of the gift shop when we arrived.
He smiled and waved. "I like sitting here alone you know."
I pointed down the hall. "There is a program going on next door. Don't you want to go?"
I called Nikki and handed the phone to Sammy. "Hey ... Got a surprise for you. I'm gonna introduce you to your great grandson."
"What? You got pictures."
"Better than that ..."
Nikki was waving ... with baby Cole in her arms. ""Hi Grampy. Here's your great grandson."
"Where are you?"
"At home ... getting Cole ready for some pictures."
It took him a while to figure out what was happening but he was smiling from ear to ear. When he finished talking he handed me the phone. "Can you believe it?"
"Pretty special huh?"
"Yeah ... I'm just thinking that I am a great grandfather. I don't know any one like me. There aren't any other great-grandfathers. I think I'm the only one. Do you know any?"
"Well ... I think there are other ..."
"I sit here and think about how proud I am of me." He pulled out his 300th kleenex as the pile in front of him grew to mountainous size. "I had marinara yesterday at Olive Garden. You ever had marinara?"
"I never ate that before. What's it made out of ... meat?"
"Tomato sauce and ..."
"Sauce ... that's sauce? I don't know ... I always have marsala."
He looked over at the next table and a little woman waved at him. Sammy waved and said loudly, "That's Edith. She's blind and deaf. She plays poker with us ... she doesn't know what she's doing ... I taught her ... poor thing."
Edith stood up and walked to the elevator shaking her head and dodging a few chairs.
"Dad ... are you sure she's blind ..."
He blew his nose. "You know there are lots of changes here too."
" ... dropping like flies ..."
"Nurses, patients ... fish ..."
"Did you say fish?"
Ignoring me, he turned to Debbie. " So Debbie ... how's your family? How is Mr. O'Malley?"
Debbie asks, "You mean Gallagher? My Dad?"
"Yeah, whatever ... I knew it was an Irish name ..."
" He's doing fine."
"So Joel ... how are you feeling?"
"Okay ... I had surgery again on Friday."
"How's your cheek?"
"My cheek? Um ... if you mean my numbness it's really in the top part of my ..."
He interrupted again. "You know I have an incredible memory. Everybody tells me ... and I'm a great listener too ... are you a good listener, Joel."
I ignored him.
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