Thursday, March 08, 2007

Eulogy for My Grandfather

Uncle Remmi and Pop
Originally uploaded by zavodk.
Recently my Grandfather passed away. On top of an already particularly challenging year, this has been a real kicker. Pop and I were really close. Thankfully I was able to pull it together to write a eulogy, which I think he would like.
This one is for you, Pop!

I was blessed for many years to have lived with my
grandparents. They took me in and gave me
unconditional love and support, when often times I
proved hard to love. They stuck by me & gave me a
place to call home, meals, a warm bed and a
sympathetic ear. I am forever grateful.

Pop, especially, gave me much room to grow and played
a huge roll in helping me become the person I am
today. He let me say my piece and listened with an
open mind, giving advice in turn & more often than not
leading me down the path where I than could recognize
my own folly. He encouraged me in my endeavors &
listened to my grand thoughts and feelings. He did
not judge, would only mildly disapprove and gave me
trust, that eventually I would work it out. I
remember once he asked me to cut his hair, but I was
afriad. He told me it would be okay no matter how it
turned out, just try it. It was that quiet yet
encouraging support which he gave throughout my whole
life, that helped me let go of my fears and move into
the future with strength and conviction.

The most treasured of gifts I've ever received is from
my Pop and Nan. Like Pop's name, they gave me a "Ray"
of light into the knowledge of their lives & the past
which surrounded & is the sum of us as a family. Pop
especially. In the mornings, I'd often wake up bleary
eyed and miserable, showing up at his kitchen table to
eat a bowl of cereal. He was quiet, but more often
than not, he'd tell a tale, his legend.
This poem is about that bit of legend that I was
fortunate enough to hear.

On the second story - of a front room
overlooking Green Lane, he was born
into legend.
A boy defying gravity & swimming with the
warm mill water from the rivers, building
rafts & ditching skools of fish
to float amongst the Main St. Matinees.
As a boy, eating peanut butter
from the jar that was always set
upon the kitchen table,
for whenever hunger came -
he was lucky, you know
for his Pop had a job with the automobiles.
In the summer they pitched a tent
on the beach in Jersey,
cooking, playing in the sand dunes
asleep near the waves tumbling at night -
he remembered
his father coming to visit on the weekends
to dole out the weeks supply of food
from wooden crates -
he grew amongst the sun
into corn fields of upstate
where they grilled the corn in the husk
the chickens running from unskilled knives.
I can imagine him on a rope swing, his
feet leaving the muddy ground of boyhood.

Jumping into the pond
where he met his mate for life
A girl who was never allowed to roller skate
whom he liked besides,
because she could dance,
& dance they did
to Have de Grass, Maryland
sent there by his mother's phrase
& a long came a marriage
where they danced the Tango, the twist & turn,
the Marangue, the Tarantella & at times the
Waltz coupled with the occasional Mashed Potato
marriage to fatherhood,
the steps laif by those who came before.

He found his way with the jobs on trucks
& back with the fish amongst the
river - where flood waters rose deep at times
threatened to swallow
but than, receded
& the five & he & his gal
mambo'd their way
to Conarroe Street
where cars went much slower than,
he used to say.

Where truth became legend, that
he passed on to us
through stories & cigarette smoke
Sanka with sugar, the whistling kettle calls
with Chesterfields & Zippo clicks

His chair, his perch
amongst the trees - the window his movie screen
he told tales of lightening coming through
the front door
& how Santa & his reindeer lived in the moon
He told us how Nan might have fell in
the pen & perhaps we could just get that
pound of twenties
& if you asked for anything, well
his name was Ray
& it was nice to meet you.

1 comment:

Missyzm24 said...

I can't help but cry EVERYTIME I read this and Zach's! I miss him sooooo much! Gone but NEVER forgotten!! I love you POP!