December 22nd, 2003

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10:25 am - Eulogy for a grandfather and friend...
I have been shaving since I was two years old. That's how old I was when my grandfather taught me. Actually, it was around this time of year. Almost 27 years ago. I remember it being after Christmas. I had recieved a fake razor set, probably from Fisher Price or some such similar company, and I remember standing in the bathroom with him and learning how to lather of my face with shaving cream and wipe it off with the "razor."

I have many fond memories of my grandfather from that time. I remember that when I was two years old, he'd come home from work at the Steel Mill and sit in a chair in the living room while I sat on the floor and read the newspaper to him. I remember my grandmother yelling at him for letting me mess around with the newspaper, but him just being as proud as could be that I could read at two years old. I didn't understand how big a deal that was until years later, but at two years old, I knew that it made him happy, so I was happy to do it.

Two years later, at age 4, I was kidnapped along with a bus full of other 4-year-old Head Start students. The bus driver had simply snapped and decided to not return any of the children. My grandfather searched the city over until late that night he found the bus and somehow managed to run it off the road with his 1970-whatever Thunderbird. I remember him coming on the bus and setting all the kdis free and waiting for the cops. I remember being proud that of all the kids on the bus it was my Grampa that was the person who resuced us.

I remember fishing trips to the Hot Waters. I remember feeding bread crumbs to the birds. I remember playing video poker on an Intellevision. Very few people in the world probably even ever owned an Intellevision video game console, my grandfather is probably the only person who ever wore won out and liked it so much he bought a second one.

I remember a man who played baseball for more years than I have at this point been alive. He loved baseball. Of all the paintings and random computer art pieces I've done, the one I am most proud of is a simple mockup of a Sports Illustrated cover I did for his Christmas gift from my mother and I last year. You won't find it on my website. Only two copies exist. My mother has one, and the other is sitting on the table at his house. I remember seeing him Christmas day last year, and every couple of minutes he'd pick it up and just stare at it. It was a simple thing. Not terribly complex. Not terribly hard to do. It maybe took me a couple of hours to put together and ship to be printed. But the look on his face last Christmas showed me that it meant something to him. He kept telling me he couldn't wait to take it down to the bank and show some guy who works there that he used to play ball with. I don't think he could have been happier if he were on the cover of the actual magazine.

I remember a man who loved to tell stories. A man who came from a southern negro family. Who drove a truck in the war for the Red Ball Express.

I remember a man who last summer not only hired a local homeless man to mow his lawn, but gave the man his old lawn mower so that he might be able to find work mowing other lawns.

I remember the goodie box, money for the children, a from bullfrog and worrying the horns off a billy goat.

I remember calling him every Sunday for the last several years. Just to talk and see how he was doing. Something that I will never be able to do again. He was diabetic, he had suffered multiple heart attacks and was dying from two different kinds of cancer. But I'd ask him how he was every week and he'd simply respond "can't kick," and then he'd laugh. When he was feeling tired, or when the chemo was getting to be too much for him, we'd joke around that he was really fine and he was just trying to get out of doing his chores for the day. Then we'd complain about politics or football teams.

My parents have been split up my entire life. I was raised by my mother. Alonzo Thomas was my grandfather, but for most of my life he was the closest thing I had to a real father. I loved him with all my heart and I will miss him very very much. Goodbye Grampa....

Current Mood: [mood icon] sad

(14 comments | Leave a comment)

Eulogy for a grandfather and friend... - graffiti.maverick — LiveJournal

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[User Picture]From: sk4p Date: December 22nd, 2003 - 07:30 am (Link)
I'm sorry, Mav. You have a lot of sympathy here; my grandfather was my best friend for a long long time, too.
[User Picture]From: jetgrrl01 Date: December 22nd, 2003 - 07:34 am (Link)
*hug* I'm sorry for your loss.
From: ludimagist Date: December 22nd, 2003 - 07:41 am (Link)
My condolences.

He sounds like an amazing man.
[User Picture]From: a_machine Date: December 22nd, 2003 - 07:54 am (Link)
It sounds like it was an admirable run, and that there is a great deal to miss. I am sorry for your loss, but moreso I am glad for your gain.
[User Picture]From: mamarayne Date: December 22nd, 2003 - 07:56 am (Link)
I love you son, and Grandpa loves you too. Thanks for having such good memories. He'll be with us forever.
[User Picture]From: beststephi Date: December 22nd, 2003 - 12:28 pm (Link)
I'm so sorry for you and your family's loss.

I'm glad I had the pleasure of knowing him (if only briefly). He was so smart and funny and loving. I'll miss him, too.

Let me know if there's anything I can do to help out.
[User Picture]From: mamarayne Date: December 22nd, 2003 - 06:04 pm (Link)
Thanks Steph. Love to you.
[User Picture]From: limpingpigeon Date: December 22nd, 2003 - 08:17 am (Link)
This was a beautiful eulogy. Your grandfather was clearly an incredible person. I'm sorry you had to lose him, but glad for you that you had him.
[User Picture]From: stuntviolist Date: December 22nd, 2003 - 08:52 am (Link)

He sounds like a wonderful guy. You and your family have my thoughts and prayers.
[User Picture]From: danitapgh Date: December 22nd, 2003 - 01:57 pm (Link)
{{hug}} Wherever your grandfather is, I'm sure he's touched by your beautiful thoughts and memories. He certainly lives on in your heart. {{hug}} Hang in there.
[User Picture]From: jameel Date: December 22nd, 2003 - 06:03 pm (Link)
I'm sorry for you and your mother's loss. I feel you, man.
[User Picture]From: gigglefaerie Date: December 24th, 2003 - 08:55 am (Link)
I'm with you man. I recently lost someone close to me also. My prayers are with you.
[User Picture]From: marmal8 Date: December 27th, 2003 - 06:03 pm (Link)
I'm happy you have such wonderful memories and that you shared them with us.
[User Picture]From: mg4h Date: December 29th, 2003 - 08:07 am (Link)

I'm glad you had such good times together, and can remember him so well.

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