“You just never know with Grandpa. You never know what he’ll do next.” Grandpa was always up to something. He’d stop by unannounced to toss a ball with his grandsons or take them for a walk to the candy store for lime rickeys. Last week, Emily discovered, quite by accident, that her Dad sold all his stocks and bonds. Just like that. He liquidated his account on a gloomy Tuesday afternoon right before the market closed for no reason that Emily could figure out. On Thanksgiving morning, Emily came by to pick up her Dad in time for their reservation at the expensive restaurant downtown. The children had been told they needed to behave or else. Everyone was waiting. But on her way into her Dad’s apartment, Emily slid on the thick stack of Schwab envelopes lining the doorway. Dazed from landing hard on the unforgiving marble, she rolled over slowly. Picked up one thick envelope after another all bearing the same stamp “account closed.” Her Dad waddled over to help her up, shaving cream still clinging to half his face. They sat at the kitchen for a bit, she on an ice pack hoping to keep pain at bay. Her Dad was facing her, his lips tight. He didn’t want to talk about it. In his prime, as a stockbroker, he always counseled his clients to park their emotions at the door. But now he was telling her in that same clear and direct voice that he always used that it made him feel good to sell everything. He had no regrets. And then he returned to shaving his face because as he always said, beards on older men made them look dotty.
November 20, 2013
by Lee Eiferman