A Tribute to Snow
My Granddaughter in Myanmar

This essay is a tribute to Snow. I met my three grandchildren over six years ago in Myanmar. However, Snow and Fatty were four and two when I met them in their preschool class. Snow even at four was focused about her educational endeavor.

Snow, there you sat listening to your teacher with your pencil in your hand ready to follow your teacher’s instructions. During our visit, we chatted for several minutes. You seemed to want to know something about that stranger who came from the other side of the world to visit your country. At four, you were too young to remember. However, I wasn’t too old to remember.

When next we met, you were eight years old. You were almost as old as Ti Ti was on my first trip. I would have loved to have been able to listen to the way Ti Ti explained who PaPa Al was. It must have seemed strange that a stranger returned for his second visit. Do you recall the questions that you had about who I was when Ti Ti or your parents mentioned me?

When I returned, you seemed happy. We played games and had fun together. One of the truly fun times that I had with the three of you was when your parent took us to Ocean. I took you, Ti Ti, and Fatty on a shopping spree. You picked out a top and some sort of pillow of an animal in a matter of a couple of minutes. You and Fatty completed your shopping spree within fifteen minutes.

I wonder what your thought comparing what Ti Ti said about me and what your perception was. You seemed to want all the data that you could acquire before you made your final decision.

However, we were going for a walk someplace. I don’t recall to where were walking nor who was with us. It was probably the day before I left to return home. It seemed that it was in the middle of the day as I recall. We left the blue house and had walked less that ten feet before you took ahold of my hand. We continued to walk, but you didn’t say anything. You just kept walking. Snow, I didn’t say anything either. I merely wanted to remember holding hands with you.

You had concluded that Ti Ti’s opinion of that stranger from the other side of the world was a nice old guy. You expressed your love for me in the quietest manner. Nonetheless, what I heard emotionally was like a deafening roar of an ocean. I didn’t say or do anything. I merely followed your dance.

That evening, your dad drove us to what became my favorite restaurant in the entire world. The Nyaung Shwe Restaurant is where we had our first Thanksgiving dinner that night. We all piled into the car. Your dad drove. On the other side of the front seat was where your mother was and between them was Ti Ti.

The three kids sat in the backseat, Fatty to my left and you on the other side of me. Snow, I also wanted to express my love for you. As your father started to drive to the restaurant, I followed your dance. Without saying anything, I reached for your hand and held it until we got to the restaurant.

Two years later, I returned for the third time to be with my family. Do you remember you and Ti Ti had Fatty lying on her back at our hotel in Bagan? You and Ti Ti were stretching her to be tall enough to go on our balloon ride over acres of pagodas and stupas outside of Bagan?

We had fun floating over all those Buddhist shrines. After a successful flight, you drank a glass of champagne with the rest of us.

Your parents planned the trip around a couple of places that I wanted to see again from my first trip. I know that going to Loikaw was your mother’s idea.

We also went on an elephant ride. I’d bet 1,000,000,000,000 kyats that the elephant ride was your dad’s idea. You, Ti Ti, Fatty, and I bounced around on top of that pachyderm for what seemed like eight hours. First, it climbed up steep mountainous paths and then down the steep other side of the extremely hilly area.

Our entire trip was fun. Wherever we were like Mt Popa, Bagan, Loikaw, Pan Pet, Ti Ti’s honors program, or in the blue house, I enjoyed being with you, your sisters, and your parents.

When I got tired of all the work that I had to do, you would fan me next to the pool.

I started this essay writing about your holding my hand as we worked together on my second trip. Before I left to go home from my third trip, you gave me a priceless gift, which you made for me.

Finally, do you remember singing Auld Lang Syne on New Year’s Eve at the Nyaung Shwe Restaurant with your sisters?

This is one stanza, which Bobby Burns wrote the lyrics to that song 1788.

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne

On New Year’s Eve in 2022, our family will lift our cups of kindness as we too sing Auld Lange Syne.

Snow, I am proud of you, and I love you. Remember that I think of you many times every day. I am lucky to have met you. Take care. PaPa Al loves you.