Last Friday, I rediscovered how terrible I am in panic situations when CK got in a car accident and called me. She said it was because we had just parted ways and she knew I wasn’t far away, but I’m pretty sure I was her only option in a thirty-mile radius. That’s the only reason I would call me. Even though she said she was okay, I still went into Panic Mode: Overdrive at the sight of her crunchy van and did my thing — parked my car in what might not have been a parking lot, tore off across the intersection and asked the man working the tow truck “WHERE’S CK?” I was led to a cop car, but CK was facing the other way; instead of opening the door, or knocking, I said to her over the phone, “Am I looking at you right now? Turn your head the other way.” Unh. At least I gave the cops a laugh.
Anyway, she was and is fine, and after a bit of “omigodomigodomigod”-ing, I was too. We chilled in the back of a cop car, taking time to notice how it was not built for comfort as even CK’s tiny legs did not fit well. CK even had the presence of mind to reach through the nonexistent back window of the van and collect her belongings, which had started the evening much closer to the dashboard. Then I took us home and went pretty much straight to sleep. Unnecessary panic is draining.
My grandfather died on Saturday morning. I tried to come up with a better transition, but there isn’t one, and I guess that’s fitting. He was 87 and sick, which makes it okay and expected, but he was many other things too, which makes it hard anyway. The whole weekend was a big blur of family, mixing the crying parts with the laughing parts. I learned a lot about my family. My aunt makes a strong drink, for one. My mom has a natural talent for Guitar Hero, for another. And I re-evaluated some things I already knew, like the 18 months grandpa spent as a prisoner of war in WWII. He was just a year older than me when he was captured. It’s hard to believe. And I thought about how everytime I saw him, he asked me how the Model T was running. In a previous life, Lula the Bad-Ass Lumina was grandpa’s pride and never-driven-over-forty-miles-per-hour joy.
Before the public visitation, we tried to come up with something grandpa loved for every letter of the alphabet, except we weren’t very good at it. We’d say “dog” before thinking of “daughters,” and “Elvis impersonators” before “Eunice,” my grandma. And then of course the xylophone. I imagine everyone who is the subject of this game ends up loving the xylophone. Since grandpa was who he was, the whole weekend was decked out in Americana (after Elvis and Eunice came Flag). And since my family is what it is, the photo display included a picture of grandpa with a Boob Cake. Fitting.
So that is the last of my grandparents. My mother is now my oldest living direct ancestor (she was less-than-thrilled when I pointed this out). Patrick, gone before I was born; Euni, who We the family unit still cannot think about for long without crying; Zedana, a wild woman after my own heart; and Leroy, who left in his “All-American Grandpa” sweatshirt.