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Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge February 11, 2013

This week’s writing challenge on the Daily Post blog (www.dailypost.wordpress.com) is to describe a character from your life. Check out the challenge here. This is my contribution.

I am twelve years old and I just woke up at Gido’s house. Gido is my grandfather and we will be spending the day together.

Gido slept on the floor all night, because that’s what he does. He lays on the hard floor in front of the television with a big body pillow and sleeps. I don’t ask why, but I think it has something to do with the war. Now that he’s older and has had more surgeries than anyone ever, and the scars to show it, I wonder why he still prefers the floor. Despite his many scars, he never complains about pain or the war. I don’t even know how he won his Purple Heart. He never talks about it.

In fact, he doesn’t talk much at all. He’s quiet, but observant. And handsome. Everyone says he’s handsome.

The first thing he does every morning, even when I am visiting, is feed the birds. He grabs a couple of slices of old bread and heads outside to the street.  I watch from the porch as he rolls the bread in his hands and walks backwards down the middle of the road, leaving a trail of breadcrumbs before him. I see the birds waiting patiently on the neighbors’ rooftops for their breakfast. Hundreds of them looking for Gido.

He joins me on the porch and we watch the birds feast. We don’t talk much. Days with Gido are calm and quiet.

When I am with Gido, I get to take the public bus. Gido never learned how to drive. It’s just another thing that makes him different. He walks a lot, or takes the bus, or mom drives him around. Mom never complains about driving him where he needs to go because he was a single parent, and a good parent, when his wife died.  Mom respects him for that and loves and likes him. Mom was twelve when my grandmother died. The same age as me now. I wonder if I remind him of my mom when she was a kid.

Gido knows the bus driver since he often rides this route. They greet each other and Gido pays my fare since I don’t know how to ride the bus. Today we are going to the bank in the strip mall.  It’s not very far, but too far to walk.  We sit facing sideways.

People like Gido because he’s quiet. He only says things that are necessary, and he’s a good listener. He remembers what you tell him. Once, my aunt told him that she liked these pistachios he bought from the Syrian bakery, so he buys her a giant bag every Christmas, even though my aunt calls him our “gi-due” instead of “gi-daw,” the way we say it.

Sometimes he gets silly and sings wacky songs about buglers and the army and the moon and pretty ladies. He sings softly and smiles even when we roll our eyes and wonder if he’s crazy. He likes to play cards with his buddies at “the post” where the other Syrians and vets hang out, but he doesn’t drink and he quit smoking cold turkey in one day. He smoked a pack, wrote the date on it, and said it was the last pack he’d ever smoke. And it was.  But he still likes the company and the food at “the post.”

When we go places, we bring him with us. He is always gently pleasant, except for the two trips that he hated: apple-picking and off-roading over sand dunes. I can’t blame him though because apple-picking was exhausting, and the sand dunes were really bumpy and uncomfortable, even for me.  These are the only two times I’ve heard him complain.  He’s only human, after all.

We step off the bus and he shuffles his feet as we walk through the parking lot to the bank. He always shuffles his feet and he always wears black socks and shoes, and his one foot turns inward. My mom says my brother has that same foot and is a lot like Gido, but I don’t agree. My brother is annoying and Gido never annoys me.

We walk slowly. Normally, I have to walk fast, from here to there to everywhere, but Gido goes slow, and it’s a nice change. I breathe the air and realize the sun is warm today. I look up at him and see his face is tan, maybe from walking everywhere in the hot summer, or from his Syrian ancestry, or both.

He stops, looking at the pavement with his dark eyes. I follow his gaze and see a small doll. He bends down and picks it up and hands it to me. “If you go slowly and keep your eyes open you’ll find things,” he says. It’s not the first time he’s found stuff that way. Sometimes it’s old coins or bottle caps, keys, or flowers. He finds them because he takes his time and looks. I never wonder what he’s thinking when he’s quiet. I assume it’s none of my business, or he’s looking for stuff.

I hold the doll and she rides back on the bus with me. I tell myself to remember to always go slowly and keep my eyes open to find the treasures of the world. I look at the slow, simple, peaceful man sitting next to me and feel lucky that he’s my grandfather.  My Gido.

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68 Responses to “Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge”

  1. shaunna Says:

    Beautiful, Jess – absolutely beautiful.

  2. Linda Graff Says:

    Beautifully said. He would be proud and honored.

  3. Simply stunning… Beautiful, sweet, warm, kind and full of (I presume) honest admiration. :) What a character both your granddad and yours!

    Take good care :)

  4. snosler Says:

    I like the opening especially :) Just stopping by to see what people are writing about for the Challenge.

  5. Love it! I feel like I know Gido now with how well you described him…

  6. Alicia Says:

    Wonderfully written, I could picture each scene clearly in my mind and even feel the details.

  7. factorymaid Says:

    So cute I felt like a 12 year old was reading this to me! loved it and I feel like I love Gido too! :)

  8. Your words were like a painter’s brush, I love your portrait of Gido – thanks for sharing

  9. segmation Says:

    Sounds to me like Gido was lucky to have you in his life! Don’t you agree?

  10. Absolutely heartwarming and beautifully written.

  11. pezcita Says:

    Such sweet memories.

  12. Sharoon Says:

    How beautifully you describe Gido! Wonderful post…I’m sure he’ll be proud.

  13. kwirkynomad Says:

    Wish I had a Gido like that.

  14. [...] is not 12 from the point of view of someone who is 12 (herself? someone else?). My jaw dropped. In this piece, the writer inhabits the character more thoroughly than I inhabit my own body. Not only that, she [...]

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  16. I really like your blog and would love you to feature on mine, http://www.5thingstodotoday.com. All you have to do is write five suggestions along with a link back to your site. Please check out the blog and see the sort of things people have written about.

  17. Jessica Says:

    Well-written! I enjoyed it. You painted a very good picture of your grandfather.

  18. jalal michael sabbagh.http;//gravatar.com/jmsabbagh86@gmail.com Says:

    Such a sweet writing about your gentle Gido.My 3 years old granddaughter calls me Baba Jido(grandpa in Arabic)Her name is Saamah(sky,highness)Thank s for following my weblog.God bless you ,your family and your Gido.Jalal

  19. ajeenaalex Says:

    wow..sweet n simple…well written! :)

  20. PAK MULIADI Says:


  21. Ritu KT Says:

    ‘Heart warming post’ is all I can say. Everything has already been said :))
    My grandfather died long before I was born :(
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  22. Simply beautiful! There are few people in our lives that leave their essence even after they are gone.

    • Jess Says:

      Thanks so much! I appreciate the read and the comment. Yes, he’s been gone a long time, but I think of him often. In the short years I had with him, he made a huge impression.

  23. [...] have to read this Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge. It’s so [...]

  24. muubarak Says:

    I think this is the best way you can describe anyone….well done..:)

  25. eof737 Says:

    What a rich and powerful dream/story… :-)

  26. [...] Another beautiful post I had to share: Gido Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge. [...]

  27. So beautiful I had to repost.

  28. netgrits Says:

    An outstanding piece of work. A privilege to read.

  29. jalal michael sabbagh.http://gravatar.com/jmsabbagh86@gmail.com Says:

    Remarkable post ,l enjoyed reading.Thank you Jess for liking my post ( Ariel,Monster.) Best regards.jalal

  30. […] WOAW keeps chugging along with a guest post by my mother, Linda.  You may recall that I wrote this post about my grandfather, my Gido.  That’s my mom’s dad.  My mom shares some memories […]

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