Monday, July 18, 2005

Drinking in the Face of Death

I remember my Dad telling me the story of how his Dad almost killed him. We were all crowded in a restaurant, drinking some adult beverages, telling wild stories about family. We’re all a little crazy. We can’t help it; it’s in our genes.

Dad was visiting his sister in North Carolina, and after a long day of job hunting, hopped in the shower. Once finished, he opened the bathroom door only to find he was staring down the barrel of a gun. Behind that gun was his Dad, who promptly muttered something to the effect of, “Well, son of a bitch, I forgot you were staying here.” Nevermind the fact that what burglar in their right mind would stop mid-theft and take a shower, Poppop was beginning to forget a lot of things at that time,including the difference between my sisters and me.

He died a little over two years ago. Had a heart attack mowing his lawn. It was for the best that it happened so quickly and unexpectedly, really, because I can’t imagine that guy sick and hospitalized. He valued his independence more than anything else.

Being 2000 miles away, I wasn’t able to attend his funeral services. Actually, I would have been able to afford it if I’d skipped paying some bills, but I was not allowed to attend. I called my Dad, and began to tell him that I’d found a last minute flight for only $700. His reply is etched in my memory so clearly, it’s as though it happened just yesterday:

“Zube Girl, you know your grandfather would chew your ass if you paid $700 to go to his damn funeral. Grab yourself $20, go to the bar, tell funny stories about him, do shots in his honor, and I promise you he is more likely to be there with you than he is to be at some stupid funeral. Even his own.”

Thing is, Dad was right, and just hearing him say that made me smile remembering the crazy old bastard I was so sad about losing. On the day of the funeral, I grabbed a $20 and headed to my favorite local bar. The one saving grace of living in a town with 3,000 or so other transplants is that everyone is so willing to stand in as family in the event of a memorial at a bar. Most folks ventured out here on their own, and they all know it could just as easily be them mourning the death of a loved one over the watering hole. It was actually not the first time I’d done shots for a grandfather, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

And, I wouldn't have it any other way. You know, I'm pretty sure he was there, too. I think I heard him say, "For godsfreakin' sake, these fucking wings itch. Hey, Zube Girl, what are you, a pansy ass? What's with the lemon and sugar with yer vodka? Girly girl. Love ya."

Or, maybe I was just drunk. Who knows? Who cares? Not me.

5 Leg Humps:

junebee said...

Great story. Sort of like when I first moved to FL, my great-uncle died and I had no money to go home. He was sort of like a grandfather to me since my mother's dad died before I was born.

Instead I went to a bar and ordered a 7 and 7 which had been his favorite drink. (Not that he drank alot, but on holidays my grandmother always had Seagrams 7 and 7-up so her brother could have his favorite drink.) I also didn't care for it much (beer drinker, myself, although a shot of Absolut is nice occasionally) but I drank it in his honor.

Blog ho said...

holy hell...i got here from the next blog button.

kyknoord said...

Great story. Here's to Poppop. On a personal note, I would hate to die while mowing the lawn. I would prefer my final moments to be spent eating pizza, bellowing, "MORON!" out the car window or doing the cha-cha (or any combination of the above).

txsm said...

Hi, Sarcastic Kitty sent me your way, she helped set me up on my own blog...I'm lovin some of your entries...seems we have one thing in common....psycho neighbors..., of course ours keep to themselves for now.

Zube Girl said...

Junebee- That's a great story, too. Everyone has their own way of remembering a loved one.

BlogHo- It's just a flashback. It'll pass!

Kyknoord- For real! I'd have thought he would die berating a cop or something. That would have been perfect!

Txsm- Thanks for stopping by! Psycho neighbors can bite me!


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