8/15/2012 - 5:48 PM


March 24, 2005
Blossom Street

"And I could hear his footsteps creeping past my window.
It was before dawn.
It was so dark, I couldn't read my watch.
But his footsteps awoke me just the same.
And I crept downstairs to see old Adam on his knees past the outhouse.
He was digging.
I crouched behind the outhouse, watching his every move.
He slowly stripped off, down to his skivvys.
He took that old suit, that he had bought the day before for $25,that was a lot of money back then, and he put it in the ground.
He covered up that old suit with dirt as black as the balls they'd used to humiliate him.
And he never spoke of it again.
The Masons were never mentioned in our house again.
Even though we all knew what happened to old Adam that night."

I've heard the story so many times.
I've heard all his stories so many times.
But I listen intently each time he tells them.
Wondering what's going to happen next.
Genuinely not knowing.
He tells the stories so richly.
Paints every sentence with his slang.
They come alive.
And I am so enthused with the energy in this old man.

My grandfather wears his 84 years on his face.
And in his skinny legs, that were once full with flesh.
The wrinkles around his eyes show the millions of smiles and frowns that have graced his face.
His white hair grows unevely atop his head.
He's always wearing the same brown pants and blue t-shirt when I see him.
'Cept when someone dies.
Then he wears his brown suit he proudly bought at the Salvation Army for $15.
"You can bury me in this one."

Some people may think his repetition is foolish.
I find it comforting.
I can always predict what will be said in an afternoon with R.
"New York is the Jew center of America."
"This here is what's left of my $500 gun that the government would give me $50 for.
This is what they'll get if come for it," as he holds a contorted peice of metal that used to be part of a barrel of a rifel."
Johnny Carson was a Mason.
"John Kerry didn't win because he's a Catholic."

My dad thinks he's a closet Nazi.

I think he just came from a different time.

"When I die, you're gonna have to kill that damn bird too."
Rocky is the most ill-tempered bird I've ever met.
Rocky squaks at any visitors with a vengence.
Rocky bites my grandfather furiously, even though the man has cared for him lovingly since before I was born.
Rocky bites sticks and spits the pieces out into the room.
Half the living room is covered in newspaper.
"As I see it, I only have a couple years left."

I'm gonna miss that old bird in a couple years.

"The human animal is insane.
The human animal is the only animal to resist nature.
To ruin nature." 
Sometimes I think my grandfather is insane.
And then in the same thought, I realize he's wiser than I'll ever be.
GM assemly lines.
Cable TV.
He's survived it all.
Always trusting nature.
Never trusting men.
"Religion is the biggest racket going."

I'm beginning to understand why I am the way I am.

My grandfather's house is the dirtiest house you'll ever be in.
My grandmother died 11 years ago and was too sick to do much for 6 years before that.
My mom, dad, and cousin tried to clean the living room a few months back.
"I had this book I wanted to show you, but I can't find the damned thing since your mother and her crew cleaned."
Once I was upside down, literally diving into a room packeted to the door, looking for old bags of yarn.
I found plenty.
And every size knitting needle you could ever want.
My grandparents are pack-rats.

I wonder why I have a hard time keeping my room clean.

Thanks to my grandfather, I know how to gut a trout, make a bullet, till a tract of land, make maple syrup, skin a dear, grown pumpkins, load a gun, make hard cider, transport logs, spot a Mason, kill a cat.

All handy bits of knowledge I'll need in New York City.

My grandfather built his house.
There's a stuffed dear hanging above the TV.
He plays the same record for us every Christmas.
Barn Talk.
He always blushes because it's "racey." 
I never really got it.
They make some joke about cod.

I guess it just came from a different time.

I love that he always smells like Old Spice.
And tries to hide his stubby finger he blew off with a fire cracker when he was young.
And has four locks on his door, even though he lives in the middle of no where.
And looks forward to going to Honey Dew Donuts every morning.

I'm going to buy 20 copies of his book.
And give one to all my friends.
Just so they can know him.

Like I do.

Posted by Laura on March 24, 2005 11:13 PM