Grinchy died. We though we were gonna take him to McDonald's for biscuits and gravy that morning, but we didn't get to. He died, and we found him naked on the floor by his bed. I covered him with that red blanket and we waited. The kids sat on his porch til I decided to walk them down the road. It was a lot to take in.
Last year, my uncle took him up the mountain. "Went up to see the bear waller!" My uncle said Grinchy said he couldn't die til he saw it, so he took him up. When my father got back from Vietnam, he went up in his convertible with a black waitress named Shirley L, and they didn't come down for a couple days. Memories. "I got to go again!" he said, "I can't die til I see the bear waller again."
There's so much to think and I wrestle with all of it in my mind still sometimes. He was a loud and angry type, probably because his life didn't amount to what he thought it would, but you wouldn't think you could get mad at someone who was dead.
One day a month or so after the funeral, my mother was riding in the car with me talking. She was talking about Grinchy's wife hugging her, crying at the funeral. We parked in the Goodwill parking lot while she relived what happened.
"How did you find out about her?" I asked. She said to me that that day, she'd told him they were going to have another baby. "Well, I'm seeing somebody else, and she's having a baby too, so this is your problem."
My mother didn't have that baby. She didn't but she cried in the car telling that story, and then we got out, and I found myself flipping through the used shirts, mad. I wanted to go back in time and whip his ass. I said a silent request that my granny in heaven do just that on behalf. Some people never get their due ass whippings.
A few weeks later I got a little box from my aunt. It contained a cd from the funeral, the ones they play with photos, and a copy of his will. His children did well. My sister got his house and the 35 acres, I knew already. One brother got the house in Chicago. The other two split an about 200 acre farm in Wisconsin. My aunt got everything else. 'I'm okay with it,' I thought. Then my eyes drifted over and I caught sight of the date the will was made. That date was my birthday. My blood boiled at what seemed like his beyond the grave attack, there I was, mad again. Holding the thing in my hands, my mother pulled in the drive, so I put on my 'I'm Good' face and entertained her. Doubtful I was entertaining. It wasn't even unexpected. I had already bought my own copy of the funeral cd...Now I have two. I played it once.
Another day I found myself driving alone, and it was quiet so my mind drifted. Somebody said as soon as Jesse got in the car, he got a sign. The Great Pretender came on the radio, the very first song as he left from the funeral. I don't know why that entered my mind then, but it did. Then I started thinking about how my radio quit working the week he died, and how I would never get a sign, and there I was crying, driving down the road. I cried, and then I said out loud, "I don't want a sign! I don't want you to come 'round my house!" And I didn't. I didn't want him to share in my future joys or successes, because they were self created, and I didn't want him to criticize my weaknesses from beyond.
And it's strange what roller coasters people can put you on, and how you think you are okay then something will pop up. Less than two weeks later Steven's father died too. We were orphans telling stories, and not telling stories, and wanting the year to end.
And the last thing I said to him was, "Maybe you should scootch in a bit, you're too close to the edge."
And the last thing he said was "Nag nag nag."
But rest in peace, grinchy. I don't always think the worst of you. I was not meant to be yours, just a friend to my mother, by way of you. I think you knew that too. And I'll be okay without your stuff.
However your life went, slough it off life a cruel dead skin. Find Shirley and go see the bear waller. <3 p="">
|the shirtless guy would be grinchy.|