Gentle Reader, hang on for a minute, because I’m about to piss off my grandfather’s ghost.
I probably shouldn’t be telling you this story, because those who are involved either swore me to secrecy or are my mother. To set the scene: my father has just died; on learning this news, my grandfather faints. It is the second of November; frost has already claimed the countryside.
Obviously, the family rushed to his side; he was rushed to the hospital. When he awoke, he screamed: his girlfriend, Anita, had been leaning over his face, checking for signs off life. She got one.
He didn’t wake back up for two weeks.
He was awake in time for the funeral, but wasn’t well enough to attend. The rest of my colorful family was there – the whole blessed lot of them. Our manifold dysfunctions were plain for the world to see, as whenever the Yoders are gathered together. We raged against going gently into that good night, as we do. The scene was a bit like this*:
That story will be told, though, in the fullness of time. This story leaves the funeral, and refocuses about a week later. Maman and I go to visit Grandpa, who is due to be discharged from hospital the next day. Grandpa was aware that we were having financial difficulties; I wasn’t earning enough to take care of both my bills and my mothers, and her hearing with the Union regarding her pension wasn’t for another few weeks.
It’s very sweet, really, the scene in his ward: the eighty-six year old man, struggling to get out of his bed, tubes and monitors going haywire. We stopped him – his hospital gown wasn’t tied – and asked him what on earth was so important that he had to get out of bed for.
A proposal. He wanted to do it properly, getting down on one knee and all, and propose to his daughter-in-law of twenty-six years.
“Nothing funny – no hanky-panky, you understand. So that you’d get my pension, and benefits.” My mother was very touched.
She declined, and they never spoke of it again.
*Okay, so there wasn’t as much dancing, but there was some. Bonus points if you can name the movie the photo’s from, though.