5 am. Surrounded in silence, he bathes.
thinking of all the things he can do. he
lathers, shaves, and drenches himself
in Obsession. the burgundy Olds
is spotless and it’s time.
seventy-one years have not slowed his pace.
he still speeds like a man of twenty-three
barely stopping at lights and signs, never
failing to honk at those who drive too slow.
He drives everywhere. exhaling Benson & Hedges
going to airports, and banks, and hospitals, praying
with the sick, delivering communion, rummaging
junkyards for new mirrors, and it’s amazing
how much gas he burns each week.
Granddaddy never sits still
unless it is to listen to Chick Hearn call the game
or watch John Wayne ride into the sunset,
victorious, having conquered a world,
my grandfather has never seen.
(c) me. 2003
my grandfather passed away the summer i moved to New York, a day after his 74th birthday. my mother and I were actually in NY at the time trying to find me an apartment. he had been struggling with brain cancer for most of that year. his decline was startling. he went from a vibrant 73 year old man who still preached, served communion, and drove all over the city for God knows what, to a man barely able to feed himself. i hated to visit him in the hospital. not because i didn't love my granddaddy, but because i couldn't bare to see him like that.
my granddaddy loved the lakers. love to hear Chick Hearn call the game & wrap their win up in jiggling jello and hardened butter. we would watch together and argue over Eldin & Vlade. we would watch as Robert Horry would will us to win with yet another clutch three pointer. we watched as Kobe & Shaq embraced after they brought the crown back to LA where it should have stayed all along. and we watched as three parades marched through downtown, signaling victory.
it's coming up to the 5th anniversary my granddaddy has been gone. and the lakers have gone through many changes since them. they've lost, Shaq left, they gave us some hope, only to lose again, but now they are back on top. as i watch them today, i am still proud. still a diehard laker fan, but i can't help but feel a bit of emptiness. my granddaddy would love this. he would love the new players & the excitement they bring. he would love how Kobe has finally begun to share the ball. and he would love that they are on top. i hope they go all the way this year...not just for our city, and the fans, but for my granddaddy. it's been far too long.