What does family mean to you? For some it means the special hug from a parent or a certain smile from your child. Even a private joke can go deep into your soul.

I smile every time someone mentions my grandfather aka “granddaddy” he always had a way of making everyone laugh. Even in his latter years when he could barely talk, due to multiple strokes. The term “Snider blood” is defined in our family as: 1. Being able to joke around with anyone “like a Snider”. 2. Having the gene that enabled you to make people laugh.

This is a family trait that many of us cousins, aunts, uncles, 3rd cousins etc… brag about that was handed down from generation to generation (the Snider’s are a huge family). They came from meager beginnings but made the best of it. They worked hard on the farm and pulled practical jokes on each other along the way.

This was just a few of the siblings of my grandfathers. Nick, my grandfather, is in the front row second from the right.

My grandmother aka “Nanaw” liked to joke with the best of us but she was the kinder, gentler one of the two. She would fuss at him if he antagonized us too much by saying “Niiiccckkk that’s enough.”

We call this photo “Blondie and Clyde” My grandfather and grandmother in their younger years. He called her “Blondie”.

A typical Granddaddy story was, he would bring candy in the room, that he wasn’t supposed to have, because of his diabetes, and fumble with the wrappers to grab our attention, then chomp down on the candy and smack his lips extra loud to tantalize us. If he didn’t give us any, after begging him, we would tattle on him by yelling “Nanaw, Granddaddy has candy and won’t give us any.” Then we’d hear “Niiiccck give those poor children some candy.”

Another story of my grandfather was when he was watching a cartoon (Dora The Explorer) with my daughter. You know the one, where she goes on adventures to achieve something like finding her friend’s home or finding something she lost. Well Alex, my daughter who was around 3, and was watching the show and my grandfather would say. How in the world can she get through that log? My daughter would say, “what do you mean granddaddy?” He would say, “well how in the world did she get that big head through that small log?” Alex would yell, “Nanaw tell Granddaddy to behave.” Then there was the famous phrase, “Niiiccckk behave.” They would all laugh and go on about their business.

As we aged we stopped going over to our grandparents house as often because we were so busy. However, we still got together almost every month for birthdays or holidays. We would antagonize him by buying gag gifts or just telling jokes. The laughter in that room would echo into every nook and cranny of that house, giving everyone a since of warmth. This warmth is still inside of me as well as the rest of the family. These bonds didn’t just start with my grandparents they started generations ago.

Family get togethers are special still, even though he and my grandmother have been dead for many years. We get together and laugh and tell stories. Stories of us growing up or what our children have done recently. But some of the best stories we laugh about are of my grandfather and grandmother who by far are still alive at these family get togethers.

Your family might be different than mine. But you know who your special people are in your life. You know who those special hugs and smiles come from. Keep those close to your heart and you will have a good life. That is all you need.