Today, my grandpa Joe Grisaffi would have been 104 years old. Sadly he left this earthly plane back in 2004 - but 95 years is still a pretty good run.
Kings of Dixieland. (That's him behind the xylophone, second from the right. I do own this record cover; sadly there is no record in it.) They played happy music that people loved to dance to. And dance they did, all over New Orleans on most evenings in the fifties, sixties, and seventies - including at City Park's Peristyle, originally designed as a dancing pavilion, and annually at Jazz Fest until 2001. By day, he repaired instruments at Gruenwald's.
Grandpa Joe was pretty awesome - besides my sister I can say confidently that he is my favorite family member. He loved animals and they loved him. He made jokes all the time, and even though he'd try to keep a straight face his mustache would twitch and give it away. He survived incredible strife (both World Wars, the Depression, getting hit by a train, his wife's death from cancer, his son's suicide), but never became bitter. He loved everyone in his family as well as he knew how.
And so. My (living) family members have a tradition. Every year, on this day, we go out and enjoy the things that Grandpa Joe considered extraordinary treats: Chinese food - Five Happiness was his favorite - and a spearmint snowball from Sal's.
Miss you and love you, Grandpa.