Monday, August 26, 2013


More than anything, I’ll always remember my Grandfather first as a racist and a Cowboys fan.  And then, if I’m thinking hard enough, that my mother told me he used to be an alcoholic and would dip constantly, or smoke a pipe, and that when she was seventeen he drunkenly beat the shit out of her, which sent her running into the arms of her first husband, Mark, who wasn’t too bright but had a body like an “action figure,” and after they eloped they lived together in a trailer in the middle of nowhere, Mississippi, while my mother worked at Wal-Mart, Mark worked as a martial arts instructor, and my Grandfather supposedly started taking steps to get sober. He could never keep a job, I know, not because he wasn’t smart enough, or couldn’t do the work, but because nothing satisfied him. He always felt he could run the show better than whoever was running it, and it bothered him endlessly to report to someone he didn’t respect. He never had much money when I knew him, but he was clean and organized, wore dentures that you’d never know weren’t real teeth, loved ice-cream and soap operas, read a lot of John Grisham novels. He recorded and catalogued hundreds of films, had a veritable library of cinema spanning decades, and he would sit in his old gray recliner in the living room watching them for hours until he would fall asleep with his hands behind his head. I haven’t seen him since my Grandmother’s funeral six years ago, but I understand he’s found Jesus now and lives in a retirement home somewhere, where I imagine he’s still doing all the things I remember him doing, only lonelier now, more reflective.

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