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“C’mon Gate, Jump in the Car.”

May 5, 2005

My entire life, if anyone asked me what the worst thing I could imagine was, I would answer them without hesitation.

(No one ever asked, but I just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have stock of answers to such questions, just in case.)

The thought that would make my stomach clench up against my spine, and make me cry just to think about, was the fact that one day my grandfather would die, and I lived in mortal terror of the day it must inevitably become reality.

My grandfather–“PaBuck”, from when I was too stubborn to say “Papa” and too little to manage “Grandpa Buck”–is, was, and shall always be the epitome of cool. Civil War buff, cooking connoisseur, mechanical genius, and the original Fonzie, there was absolutely nothing that PaBuck couldn’t fix. Skinned knees made him shake his head, and broken hearts made him give you a hug, and even the worst of teenage angst could be whisked away by the sound of a Harley rumbling into the garage with donuts in the saddlebags, and an almost certain invitation to come and spend the night with him and Grandma. And Mom was required to let me go.

Did I idolize him? Oh, yeah. I did. And even though I know his faults–and have more than once informed humanity at large that he is stubborn, and headstrong, and absolutely unrelenting–and he is!–it doesn’t matter. The simple truth of the matter is that there was nothing so horribly broken that he couldn’t fix it, no situation beyond his control, and no day that wasn’t an adventure when he came around.

The call came four years ago, and it was every bit the hell that I thought it would be. My strongest memory is of members of my family, just hugging and holding on to each other, because every single one of us was wondering how on earth life could ever be normal without him around.

Tonight, I was sitting on the couch, flipping channels and thinking it was about time for bed, and suddenly I remembered one holiday–Thanksgiving or Christmas, something cold–and how the room looked and the mental image of him sitting in the rocker, cheering the football game. And I miss him, and it’s making me cry, and I just wanted to sit down and close my eyes, and share him with everyone else, because there are not enough people in the world who got to know him (although he was friends with all of them–and every Waffle House waitress in a seventy-five mile radius). And even though I know that he knew–and knows–how much we loved him, and even though I know that he’s strong and healthy now, and still looking out for us–I just had to say, publicly and out loud, that I love him and miss him and it still hurts like hell, and for the record I think dying is a stupid, stupid idea.

I guess that’s about it.  G’night.

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One comment

  1. I know what you’re on about.
    My Granmummy was very old when I was born. I knew her for only 13 years. She was not dynamic, or smart. Nor would she take care of you and make sure everything’s all right. She was too elderly for all that. All she managed to do was take care of her huge garden (with the aid of her slaves and 1 gardener), and sometimes whack the dog with her walking stick if he gambolled too close to her.
    She was not the person who would crop up in my mind whenever I used to think of my family. No, that was usually occupied by my Mum and sister-of-the-day/month. But now that Granmummy is not here, I know what I miss, and what my household misses. She was the fulcrum, not of our individual existence, but the existence of my entire household (you know I’ve 30 people there – give or take a few) as one single cohesive, unified entity. She was the nail that held many different planes and pieces together.
    She used to come in my dreams every now and then, and I knew she’s all right and watching us. Many years ago, I dreamed of her opening the door of my house and walking away, and I knew she will come no more. She never did. Till date I have wished she would return. My household, my stupidly-bickering family needs her. I know she’s not there anymore, she’s probably reborn somewhere.
    And yet.. death is something very precious. I would not exchange my mortality for anyone’s peace or pleasure. Just that death should not come to me till am ready to recieve it the way it should be.



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