I don’t think it’s necessary to get too sentimental or emotional with this entry, but those are the words that tend to describe an 86th birthday party- especially for a man who has 3 generations of family to surround him with old stories, Italian sausage, and a good glass of scotch to warm his belly.

Victor DeMaria is his name. I call him Grandpa, of course.

No one can predict where we will be when we are his age. I think we all hope for the best. And for most of Grandpa’s later years he has had the best; living at home with his wife and close to the whole family. Catholic Italians, I’ve come to understand, tend to stick together.

Things change though.

His situation these days isn’t ideal; stuck 65 miles northeast of Kansas City in the VA home in a tiny town called Cameron, Missouri. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why they decided that’s where to build the home… no where near anything or anyone.

So when the time comes to celebrate 86 years of life on this earth, everyone makes the trip up there.

I know Grandpa was looking forward to some real food (the food he has been used to his whole life) and a drink to enjoy. Mostly though, he just wants to see the people who love him. I imagine it’s a lonely place, the VA home, when your days are marked by eating cafeteria food, sleeping, and taking your medicine. The highlight of his day I know are the conversations with Grandma over the telephone. If he can hear her…

They just celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary.

This post, as I said, it not intended to ponder a once easier past, but rather to celebrate the blessings that have, and still do, surround this man’s life.

The times I have been up to see him (too few I know), always help to remind me of what I have to thank God for: good health, family, and the other blessings in my life. When you boil everything down, that’s all that matters. My wife and I move through life faster than most I would guess- always on the run and too busy. The VA home puts it all in perspective.

So these are the pictures of a family that Grandpa Vic helped raise and support. The generations you see here all link to him on the family tree. Grandma too, of course. We are all there.

The most beautiful characteristic of our family is that we are simply traditional. Whole. Committed to each other. Iv’e grown up and realized how rare that is. Because of that, I appreciate my family more than ever.

And I know that Grandpa, if you asked him, would say the same thing.

Joining hands to say grace.

All smiles after blowing out the cake.

Everyone together.


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