Playing carelessly in the corner of a circular room, out of the corner of my eye I noticed my grandfather reading the newspaper and as he usually does mumbling to himself, how the world is changing, and nothing is like it used to be, why is everyone in a hurry? You're not in any hurry are you Michael? Of course not I'd say, and then go about my playing without blinking an eye. My Grandfather I called POP for reasons I still do not know; he was from old Ireland (thatís what I always called it) and he was quite set in his ways which was how he thought all things should be. My God the conniption he would have today.
I found him so different in stature and the way he carried himself through a crowd; trying desperatly not to step in the shit thats beneath him. But yoiu always would. Then you'd track reminants of it home and days ater you could smell it. But you didn't know where it was. Then you look around a bit and realize it has been sitting in your closet all week long. Now everything you own has got to be replaced, because [and this is his mentality] it has now become shit. Once it smells like shit; it becomes shit. Which to me was pretty cut and dry. It was that simple to him, no need to discuss it, that was the right way [his way] and there wasn't another.
So often my time would be spent watching him out of the corner of my eye. I'd watch him as if was doing an X-Rated news cast. Before I turned six I knew who the president was and what an arrogant yellow piece of shit he was. Because I listened to him. I don't know if he ever knew that I was eavesdroping or even if he cared. Itís so amazing the knowledge you can interpret even if it is out of just a corner of my eye.
Some fond memories I have is of times when I was sick[funny huh?] and my Nane and POP [that's my grandmother and grandfather] would come over to watch me while my parents were at work. Iíd play with my brothers Star Wars figures [really they were his] except to me they weren't Star War figures they were wrestlers.[Chewbaca was the Champ] I would make fight for honor, and to the death. My grandfather often got a kick out of that; to the death yet for honor. Often I would notice out of the corer of my eye; him watching me out of the corner of his. I got the sense that he enjoyed watching me make them fight. Especially to the death [maybe thatís how it was inOld Ireland] Every man for himself or in Princess Leia's case every woman for herself. Sometimes he would ask to join in my battle royal, and of course I would make room. Then I would hand him Princess Leia and say you're her. He would take her and not crack a smile, but I knew that he couldn't let a 5 year old drag that kind of emotion out of him. Heck even the million dollars that Nane won in the lottery only got a "Francis [that was her name] you bought those stupid things after I told you what the odds were? God Damit you just don't listen, just like the rest of the world." Isn't she Michael? Yup Pop she sure is I'd say and as soon as he leeft the room I'd go over to Nane and she'd hand me a 10 spot cause she knew, she was the one with all the cash.
I then would fall asleep due to the overdose of penicyln and fumes from the vapor rub my Nane would insist on refreshing 4 times an hour every hour. Often when I woke; [but not really you know that place somewhere in between] when out of the corner of my eye Iíd see him playing with my toys and he would have them all set up as if they were posing for a picture.
Almost never did I totally know if I was dreaming or was it real. Why was he doing that, I guess back then things like your grandfather setting up your toys for you while you slept just wasnít in the realm of what I believed to be reality. Now hereís the thing; By the time Iíd wake he would be back in his chair reading the newspaper as if no play time happened. And the wrestlers were not set for a picture in fact it was quite the opposite. They looked as if they had lost the biggest wrestling match of their lives and since it was a fight to the death, they were obviously not the winners. Where's the honor in that? I never asked what the deal was nor did he offer any explanation.
Then one day I was sick and my grandparents were over doing their usual sick duty. I noticed POP not looking his usual self. But still went about my business. I started thinking of all the things Iíve learned from him like reading maps, [I never get lost] really I donít. History. Ahhh man was he a history buff. Iíll bet the amount of history that he knew would be more than the actual history our world has. He also had this book that he was always writing, [I donít know what ever became of that] but Iíd be willing to bet , itís packed with insight and his visions of how a world was and should be. The more I think about the way that he would have wanted things, the older I get the more I make his views my views too.
You know I really loved that man. He was more wise than the wisest of men. Honestly he really was. I know that sounds/looks/and reads funny buthe was and I am at a loss for words.
The moral of all this if any lies somewhere in here; he later died that day. It was very sad and though I was young I stood tall like a man and comforted my Mom [his daughter] and Nane [his wife] They were married 80 freaking years. That simply is a rare beautiful thing, that I know I will never get to feel.
I did those things not because I wanted to, but because I know he was watching me, even if it was only out the corner of his eye. I sytill wanted him to nodd his head and say to himself Michael knows, he'll be alright.
Anyway much time passed after that and just recently I ran across an old book up in the attic in their old worn down New York house that my grandparents owned. It was the book he had spoke of. In it was fabulous stories of a man who would watch his grandson play so innocently with fictitious characters a very fictitious game. He wrote that this gave him more understanding of what it meant to live and how that because of me and my ability to find him not such a cumbersome walking tower of information that had been outdated since the world began. But a walking hero in the flesh, there for me to soak up his knowledge because I had the knowledge he gave me to actually seek his.
Itís funny how he didnít want to look silly playing with my toys but he did play with them because he wanted to remember the experience better and be able to relate to me better. Thatís how he was. Meticulous. That was him.
I loved him and thatís why I rewrote parts of his book but not the message and it will be published soon. The funniest thing is in the book, page one he wrote the world will not be ready for this knowledge, until the turn of the century. For this knowledge only my grandson Michael can understand.
L A M E M A N S T E R M S