Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Something to remember

I have known a vast quantity of nonsense talked about bad men not looking you in the face. Don't trust that conventional idea. Dishonesty will stare honesty out of countenance any day in the week, if there is anything to be got by it.

- Charles Dickens. In All the Year Round (1860). The narrator (Mr. Sampson), in Hunted Down, ch. 2, New York Ledger (1859).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Madness....

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love, LOVE, LOOOOOVE the NCAA men's basketball tournament. It's my favorite sporting event of the year. I don't care about the superbowl or the NBA, PGA, or nascar. Give me young men in the 20's reaching for a dream anyday over the extremely well paid and poor tempered league of professional athletes. The hunger and the drive of the collegiate level player can result in the most amazing plays, turnovers and upsets. As an east coaster, I am generally a fan of all the ACC conference schools, except Duke. The blue devils can suck it! Who needs all those championships? The same thing goes for UNC. The sky is not Tarheel blue, thank you! This year I am rolling with OSU, baby! That's right, Buckeyes, you have a sister among you! So, fill out your brackets and get ready to watch 72 hours of non stop, heart racing, so-good-you-could-listen-to-it-in-your-car-if-you-had-to basketball and know that out in LA, I am sitting there glued to the TV with you!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

March

March is an interesting month in my family. It's the month with the most family birthdays - 10. It's the month when the weather pretends like it's going to get better and then it rains for 2 weeks straight and all you can say is "Well, at least it's not snowing..."

March is also the month when my grandfather passed away. While many of my friends were not lucky enough to grow up with grandparents, a signifcant part of my childhood involved living with and being raised by my grandparents. My grandfather was my dad. He was my chauffer to doctor's appointments, he videotaped field hockey games, he taught me how to drive, and he misty-eyed when I went to the prom. He even let my date drive his gigantic black lincoln.

Unfortunately, my grandfather did not make to it to see me get married or buy a house or settle into a satisfying career path. When he first passed away, it was so hard for me to understand what the world was supposed to be like without him. Even now, I find myself wanting to call him and ask for help. If I could talk to him now, I would ask him, what would you want people to know about you. Here is what I think he would want me to say:

1) My grandfather loved his girls: My grandmother, my mom, and my sister and me. We were light of his life and nothing made him made more proud than when we accomplished something, so he could brag about it.

2)My grandfather liked nice things but worked really hard for them. My granfather used to drive what my mom and I would call the mafia lincoln because everything was black: black leather, black cloth top, black paint, black interior, super dark tinted windows. When I was 7 I couldn't wait to grow up so I could have a lincoln continental of my own. My grandfather drove that car to the dry cleaners that he opened in a little area called Columbia, Maryland. He worked hard in that store and was sure to show me the value of ownership and hardwork.

3)He could fix anything. In this day and age, where we all sit at a computer and pretend like we know a lot about a lot of different things, my grandfather actually did. He replaced brakes on his car, replaced a toliet in one of the powder rooms in his house, ran his own business, owned rental properties, started a second business for residential lawncare, and fixed my grandmother's curling irons on more than one occasion.

4)He was a loving son. I had never seen my grandfather cry until the day his own father passed away. During the last few months of my great-grandfathers life, my grandfather was given power of attorney and took control of the family. He moved his father into our house with the help of a hospital bed, a part time nurse, and food delivery service. When the end came, my grandfather made arrangements and was the definition of class while dealing with all the necessities. During the finally hymn of the service, everyone went up to pay their final respects and I saw my grandfather break down. A mighty oak weeping and all I could do was cry with him.

My grandfather was a good man. While it's still difficult for me to understand the world without him and accept all the baggage that goes along with death of a loved one, I try to remember that he is somewhere better, not suffering, not sick, and hopefully eating fantastic meals, each of which end in a gigantic bowl of butter pecan ice cream.