I don’t think I told you about last weekend’s temper tantrum.
I walked in the room and Seth had a crowbar and a sledge hammer and was preparing a strike on the kitchen floor. I overreacted with some woman-screaming about how we need to complete one construction project before we began another, and seth overreacted with some man-talking about how I was acting like an overbearing foreman. I think we both were correct.*
* Editor’s Note to Ryan: If you’ve recently had three Guinness, I want you to know that Mommy and Daddy are doing fine and are not getting a divorce.
The thought of having my kitchen floors ripped up was so unnerving that I got in the car and left for Columbus. I had a pleasurable lunch at Olive Garden with Brittiny and our long-lost Angie. It was really great to watch her drink a Bloody Mary from an awkward glass. We think the waiter had a thing for Brittiny.
From Columbus, still determined to be a brat, I drove south to Washington Court House under the guise of Visiting Grandpa In The Hospital. Having long ago lost the ability to speak (minus, of course, a handful of crystal-clear swears) Grandpa has been in the nursing home with pneumonia, surrounded by random pairings of his six children for a few weeks now. The nurses made us all wear surgical masks and plastic gloves when we touched him. I am still mad about that.
At one point last Saturday, while holding his hand and scratching his poor, itchy back, i took my mask off and spoke to him. gramps stared for a while, looked me right in the eye, winked and gave me a little smile. I could tell it took just about all of his concentration. I count myself lucky for it.
I’m hoping to permanently sub that memory for last Saturday’s visit, when his pupils had stopped responding to light and he stared vacantly, unable to focus on anything in the room. When he wasn’t asleep, he screamed in pain or wept and sobbed like an infant. It was the worst thing I have seen in a long time.
I was relieved to hear he had passed on Tuesday afternoon. Surrounded by sons and daughters and grand kids and greatgrandkids for most of the last few months, he died with only Grandma in the room beside him. I imagine it must be a lot of pressure to die in front of a crowd. He was 88.
If this was a movie I think I’d show the clip of me, as a sixth-grader, and him, as the test subject for a school project. On the tape, from his recliner you will hear him tell me about the Depression. About shoveling coal in the furnace in the mornings. About mowing six acres of ground for a quarter. About the chain that broke, sending a few dozen logs tumbling down off a truck and on top of him. That broken hip would bother him the rest of his life. It would keep him from wars and it would kept him from dancing.
He was famous for the sharpness of his kitchen knives. He could grow anything – seriously, anything – in Ohio regardless of the climate it required. And I might be bias, but no one on this earth will ever make a fruit salad like my grandpa.
I will remember all of these things tomorrow at his funeral and I count myself lucky for it.
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