My grandfather was a seltzer man.
He had moved alone to the Goldena Medina (United States) from a rural area in Poland leaving his family behind. Carried crates of seltzer and flavored syrups up the wooden stairs of tenements and then the empties back down to the open sided truck. This is how he saved up enough money to bring his family to America. When he had left the old country, my grandmother was pregnant with my father. So when they arrived, my father, who was now seven years old, met his father for the first time.
I have only spare memories of my grandfather but it was always with a welcoming smile on his face and lidded brown eyes behind wire-framed spectacles. When we arrived on Sunday afternoons for visits, the first thing he would do is bring out the seltzer and syrup and “fix me” a cherry soda, sweet with a bubbling sting on the tongue. For you, he would say, sliding the glass over to me. For you.
My grandfather passed away when I was barely four years old – so that blue seltzer bottle, with the metal shpritzer on top, is one of the few lasting memories I have.
And a man in spectacles, clinking the sides of a jelly glass with a small silver teaspoon.