Thursday, March 24, 2005

His Foot Drags Just a Little

My husband stayed home from work today with that ugly bird flu/plague that is going around. I drove in alone and with the control freak of the radio not in the car I could play whatever I wanted.

An old slow country song came on and I could just barely stay on the road.

It just took me back a few years ago, when I was visiting my dad's parents. My Grandpa Ted and I have never been close. When I was small they lived two hours away and when we moved here of course they were across the country. But even without much time together I have some incredible memories.

He is tall and thin. With black hair (ok salt and pepper) that he still combs back with water--the same way he did in the thirties and forties. His back hurts him and so when he walks he drags his foot behind him just a bit. He doesn't just laugh, he throws his head back and roars. I remember falling asleep while he would play cards with my parents and hearing his laugh fill the entire house. He swears using words that are allowed by my controlling grandmother--words that may or may not be actual German curse words. He is a vicious competitor who cannot stand to lose under any circumstances.

He is a life-long Cubs fan. Each summer we would watch the games and he would tell me how they were going to break his heart forever.

He and my grandmother have fought every moment of their marriage. He has a dry and sarcastic sense of humor. She has no sense of humor. When he built their home, he made the doorways narrow. Now that she is in a wheelchair he uses those narrow doorways to hide from her in rooms she can't get to.

He is an insomniac. And has the most amazing metabolism in the world. He sleeps just two or three hours a night, and at about one in the morning he eats a peanut butter and butter sandwich and a bowl of ice cream.

On this visit he was getting that snack and took me into his basement to look at his workshop. He is a gifted woodworker--some of most treasured positions are the pieces that he has made for me. We were down in his shop, he was showing me the rocking horse he was making for a charity auction, and a country song came on the radio.

I had told him about trying to learn to two-step earlier that night. I had no idea that he knew how to two-step at all. But we danced in his basement, to a slow song full of steel guitar, his foot dragging just a little.

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