Today would have been my grandfather's 105th birthday. My mother's father, he was the youngest of my grandparents and also the longest lived. He was the only grandparent whom I knew for more years as an adult than I did as a child.
I wrote about his life in this space five years ago, so I won't repeat what I said then. We were dissimilar in interests — he was an engineer who valued the supremely practical, and I write articles about sixth-century Tiree or Roman imperial nomenclature — but we both appreciated opportunities for quiet time, and the unsurpassed productivity found in working alone.
I think back on this quality, and on him, during this period of social distancing. My grandmother would have been deeply troubled by social distancing, and she likely would have spent the whole day on the telephone. My grandfather, on the other hand, while he would have been concerned over the human and financial toll, would also have seen it as a chance for him to be productive without the distractions of excessive personal contact.
My thoughts are more akin to my grandfather's, and I hope I, too, can use this unasked-for opportunity to become more productive.