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Student reflects on grandfather’s example

I have a lot to be thankful for in this world, nothing more so than my name, handed down by generations of hard working and brilliant minds, led by my grandfather, Joe.

Here is a man renowned for his dedication to work and the love and respect he has for everyone in his family. Someone that is so easy to look up to, but so easily overlooked by those who wouldn’t appreciate what he’s done.

It would be easy for me to do the same, considering I had no real understanding for what he’d do each and every morning for years. Being less than 10 years old will do that to you. Now that I at least have a little better appreciation of what it means to work for a living, I’m in shock by just how incredible this man’s work ethic was.

After waking up at 3 a.m. Monday through Friday, he’d spend the next eight hours on the New York City docks, preparing shipments and completing a truck route until noon. Even when he had to get to sleep early, he still had time to read, “A Fly Went By” to his first grandson, wondering what the hell kind of book this was the whole time.

I had no idea why Grandpa would leave and return so early, but I knew he did it because he needed to make means for his family.

Honestly, that’s all he ever cared about: family. I’ve never been on this earth and seen a birthday of his he seemed to care for; not that he wasn’t grateful for the life he’d lived or the times he was a part of, but because he never wanted the spotlight on himself.

Everything my grandfather did was for the improvement of his family’s lives. He brought three incredible children into this world that I’ve always been proud to call members of the elite fraternity of Costa. Each of them furthered the legacy and gave him 11 grandchildren that have been honoring our name in ways I’m sure Grandpa’s proud of.

Some of the lessons he’s taught me have been things I’ve taken for granted for years. Grandpa is the type of man who told everyone what was on his mind at all times. If you were out of line, he’d let you know you’re nothing short of a knucklehead.

My favorite quote he ever spewed was when my Grandmother asked him if he would like to try some new food to which he quickly shot down with a jab of, “Mary, I’ve been alive 80 years. I think I know what kind of food I want.”

Even with that, the best thing I’ll ever take away from my Grandpa is his unprecedented love of my Grandmother. They’ve been a partnership for more than half a century, aided in part to an easy yet beautiful pair of rules of never going to sleep that night with any anger for one another and never forgetting to say “I love you.”

He’s an inspiration to my daily life and that of so many others on this earth. Even now in the twilight of his life, his love of family is something I aspire to compare to one day. So Grandpa, even though you may be far away, you’re always with me.

Costa is a senior majoring in journalism.

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