Welcome to Family Histories, a series of guest posts by some of my favorite bloggers in which they explore family . . . and history. The families and the histories are sometimes the writers’ own and sometimes not.
Today’s post is from THE MUSCLEHEADED BLOG. Chris never fails to amuse me with his mix of humor, sex and vintage postcards. Here he writes about grandparents:
Note: this post might
start out sounding
like it’s about Math,
— but it ain’t.
if I really wrote a post
about what I knew about Math,
I’d sound more like this:
“2+2= ummmm– 22 ???? ”
Do you know the
old story of Pythagoras?
when he figured out that:
” in a right-angled triangle
the area of the square
on the hypotenuse
(the side opposite the right angle)
is equal to the sum of the areas
of the squares of the other two sides” ,
he exclaimed ” Eureka !! “,
which in the Greek language
means ” I’ve Found It ! ” .
he said: ” εὕρηκα “ ,
but that’s all Greek to me )
Well, I’ve had some εὕρηκα
moments of my own recently
and I’ve come to realize
a couple things…..
For most of my life, I thought my grandparents
were kinda crazy.
I loved them like nobody’s business —
My Grandfather had a cockeyed sense of humor that would come out at the oddest times —
— especially when things
were really going badly.
My Grandmother was one of
the loveliest women to ever live —
smart, beautiful, and
dare I say it — sensual.
Even well into her 90’s,
long after my Grandfather
had passed, my Grandmother
had male suitors sending her
flowers and gifts in the nursing home.
But it’s only been recently
that I’ve been figuring out,
that they really knew what
the hell they were talking about.
Take Prune Juice, for instance.
I’m not saying I would ever
drink this stuff, despite the marvelous effects that other mature ( ahem ) folks that I know are getting out of it.
Those marvelous effects —
Well, let’s just say
without them, you walk
around feeling sorta outasorts .
I used to think my grandparents
drank the stuff cause they liked the taste of it.
Shows ya what a kid knows.
And that older
people are square,
and old fashioned —-
just to be spiteful.
It’s only when you start walking
around in comfortable clothes,
and buy yourself a four-door car,
—- do you start to realize there’s
a method to their madness, man.
It’s the truth.
Cooking at home — there’s one.
I always figured why cook at home ,
— when you can go out to eat?
Until you’ve done it
10,000 times or so,
What Grandmom used
to call ‘junk food’ —
turned out to be just that .
Hey– at home —
the food’s better,
and the service don’t suck.
Have it your way anytime —
— by doing it yourself at home.
You knew what was it
in the food, ’cause you made it.
It’s freakin genius, I tell you.
Now, my grandfather
didn’t trust banks.
He had survived the
Great Depression as a young man —
The runs on the banks,
poor jumping off skyscrapers,
the soup lines,
the whole rotten deal….
So, he’d cash his
paycheck each week,
take the cash home,
divide it into little envelopes —
— one for the light bill,
one for the water,
one for the mortgage, etc.
Once he had put the allotted
amount of cash in each envelope,
he knew how much cash he had
left to spend for the rest of
the week on luxuries like
going to the movies, eating out, etc.
He never worried
about bank fees, check charges, balancing the books,
broken ATM machines,
credit card interest, or any of
the rest of the millarkey
I deal with on a regular basis.
Hey, back in the early 1970’s,
I had one of the first ATM cards ever issued.
The bank I was using
was the first one in Florida
to do the whole ATM thing.
I was really enthusiastic about the concept–
— cash from a machine —
24 hours a day !
Talk about technology.
But when I told him
about it, he just laughed.
Crazy old geez, I thought.
Stuck in the middle ages, poor guy.
Somehow, over time,
we forgot what
those banks were,
and are about.
But he never did.
I remember how they’d
look at each other
with this special sense of ardor —
as if their passion
was what defined them–
as man, and as woman,
when they were together.
I was asked to give her eulogy,
when my grandmother passed at age 95.
I explained that there were
two things that everybody
who ever met her knew about her:
that she loved her family
with all the intensity that
her heart and spirit could generate –
….. and that she loved life
with that same verve
Yes, I adored the lady,
and I don’t mind telling you that,
or that I have a tear in my eye
as I write about her.
I’ve got a smile,
a smile that I reserve for only very happy times,
and only very special people —
———- and it’s her smile .
She thought that anything was possible,
as long as you had a close knit family.
The family was a necessary part of any meal,
so everybody had to be at the table,
right on time, at 5:00PM each day.
You had to say Grace at every meal.
I thought, God didn’t care whether I said Grace or not.
It’s only recently that I have realized…
We weren’t saying Grace for God’s sake.
We were saying Grace for our own sakes.
Learning to appreciate your blessings, the importance of family….
……… To understand the vagaries of time.
And I thank God I had them to learn these things from.