My Grandfather’s Resolutions

My mother’s father was a lawyer. When my mother was a child, he worked for the IRS, and family lore tells us that he was one of the lawyers who went to Chicago and helped put away Al Capone for tax evasion. My grandmother was extremely worried the whole time, we are told. And then my grandfather died, when my mother was just 14. I never met him.

But my mother adored him, though she was kept from him at times because he was “resting,” because he had been diagnosed with hypertension and the thought was that playful, rambunctious children would make his condition worse.

Other than these things, what I mostly know about my grandfather was that because of the hypertension, he was on a low salt diet. Because of that, my mother never put salt on anything. And so I, too, am sensitive to salt, and avoid traditionally salt-loaded foods like potato chips.

But then my siblings and I went through some old documents and pictures in a box, and came across my grandfather’s New Year resolutions for 1924. All of them made me laugh, but here are some of my favorites. Clearly I inherited my sweet tooth and my flirting habits from him.

January 2, 1924

WHEREAS, upon the beginning of a New Year it is meet, fitting, and proper that a certain lawyer aim toward a greatly improved conduct in all things of life…
IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED, by him,
(1) That he will  not fall in love with more than twenty-five pretty girls at the same time, nor will he seek out the company of more than twenty-five in the course of one calendar week, nor will he flirt with any greater number than he can safely flirt with and not be found out by any of the others.

(2) That he will not stay out later than three o’clock A.M. on more than eight nights in any one week.
(4) That he will not attend any more movies than he can, and will not take any more pretty girls to the movies than his limited finances will permit; neither will he hold more than two (2) of any one young lady’s hands at any particular movie…
(5) That he will not shake the cherry pie tree nor milk the whipped cream cow more often than he gets a chance, nor will he eat any more of either’s products than he can hold.
(10) That he will not smoke, drink, chew, swear, gamble, or grumble at the street car service, or lack thereof, very often.

(12) That he will not eat any more than two caramel pies at one time, and will not ask for said kind of pie more than once a day.

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