I used to always beg to borrow this hat when I was a baby punk rocker in high school, and joked that I looked better in it than my grandfather did. Now it hangs in my bedroom and still smells like his cologne, and honestly, I’m humble enough to admit: it looks pretty damn good on both of us.
And somehow, I’ve made it to my 33rd birthday.
Sooo meeting Pee-wee Herman/Paul Reubens is a thing I can say I’ve done now, and yes, I lost my meka leka hi meka hiney (w)ho(le) shit!
My grandfather’s memorial service was today. It was intimate, personal, and all about him, which he would have loved. I am eternally grateful to Lisa and the funeral home, the US Air Force, the pastors, all attendees (especially those who traveled great distances or in bad health to say goodbye to him), to my boyfriend and to my beloved friends, who have kept me afloat with their support.
Finally, I am above all grateful to Alicia Bridges for pumping out the disco hit “I Love the Nightlife”, which Grand adored and requested should close out the service. The family name “LAUGHTER” on the wall behind where his remains sat proved that while his time on earth is over, his impact in our lives is forever. Go chase the night life, Grand. You gotta boogie. 💡♥️
Flowers outside of the room Grand passed in.
He always loved his flowers.
My grandfather and I have played a game for so long, I don’t even remember the origins of it. I would try – and always fail – to catch his pinky finger without him pulling it away from me. I absolutely NEVER could – the man was stronger than an ox, I could take my two little hands to his one pinky finger and still not catch it.
Even when he got older, weaker, sicker, he still had a phenomenal old man strength that allowed him to allude capture. It made me furious! He told me that I could catch it when he finally died, and I said that I would cut it off and bronze it as my trophy, and we would laugh uproariously, because my family is morbid and terrible.
It is obvious where this post is going and what I’m trying to say, and I initially felt really sad, and I thought it would just be hard and miserable to write it out – but that wasn’t really us. So here I am, victor at last, with my grandfather’s pinky finger finally all mine. He left us this afternoon, and it feels unfathomable and surreal.
My Grand, silly ole Grandy Bar – you put up a really, really good fight, prolific and skilled, and it was an honor to lose to you for these 32 years. I wish I could lose to you for 32 more. I will carry this victory with pride, and while I have the hand strength of a newborn and cannot carry on the physical pinky game, I promise to carry on your stubbornness with an absolutely earth shattering frustration to those around me, just like I know you’d want me to. I’m gonna make you proud, Grand. Thanks for everything, and I mean it – for everything. PS – “bullllshitttttt.”
When I was very little, I told my Grand that he was “bald as a lightbulb”. In return, he gifted me … a lightbulb. With his likeness drawn on it. I have kept that lightbulb for over 25 years, and today, the wonderful Wren at Reckless Heart Tattoos in Greenville was kind enough to tattoo that lightbulb (now and forever known as #Grandbulb) on me. I told him I was getting it before I went, and asked him if he liked the idea. A routine hater of my tattoos, I was surprised when he immediately blinked once to tell me yes. After I got it, I came back to show him and asked him if he liked it. He looked at it for a long time, looked back at me, and immediately shook his head no … but his eyes were bright. A “hater” till the end, my Grandbulb. 💡
I wrote this last year, in the days that led up to the first anniversary of your death. It has remained in its embryonic stage, in a tangle of nonsensical pieces and parts, until today. I wasn’t ready then, but I’m ready now.
To F. – (as Pete Yorn would say, “cos it already is”).
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