Monday, August 30, 2010

Monday Attitude Adjustment Story #156

More Stories about my Grandpa Garber

One of the distinguishing, and disgusting, traits of the Garber family men is the propensity for discussing their bowel movements with anyone willing, or not, to listen. I tell you this because you need to have this understanding firmly embedded into your consciousness in order to appreciate the first of the stories I wish to relate to you. My dad was constantly complaining about this particular habit so readily practiced by my grandfather, not because of what he would say but rather when he would say it. Dad would complain to grandpa, “Dad, why do you have to talk about your bowl movements while I’m eating?” Not to be outdone grandpa would simply answer, “Well Bill, if you weren’t eating all the time, I just wouldn’t have to.” This particular problem disappeared when my grandparents moved from Akron to Miami, Florida. However, in 1955, we followed my grandparents, to live in Miami. For the first few months, we lived with them in their house. Since there was a lake with plenty of bass and bluegill as well as a large are for digging night crawlers and grubs to bait our cane poles, my brothers and I were very happy but I don’t think my parents always shared our joy. I know my mother wasn’t too happy when grandma announced that “The smell of your cooking is making me sick.” I was only eight but I didn’t care much for that either, however, I think my grandfather wanting to discuss with all of his extended family the never-ending story of his bowel problems was the main reason for us leaving. If memory serves me it was about the time that dad slammed his fist on the table and said, in an extremely stern fashion, “Dad for the love of God shut up about your damn bowels, please!” Grandpa’s reply after grandma’s, “William, there’s no reason to shout and curse”. Grandpa didn’t miss a beat and said, “Bill, when I’m in your house you can tell me what or what not to say and I will respect your wishes. However, in case you have forgotten, this is my house.” There were not really any bad feelings as we visited their house many, many times to fish and water-ski, but dad did mention, more than once, that it was wonderful to eat a meal in peace without having to hear about the condition of grandpa’s bowels. It wasn’t too long after we moved into our new house that my father was severely injured in an automobile accident and after coming home had to be in traction for six months, but after he first got home he was actually in a pretty good mood because he said,”…at least I’m home now and not a captive audience of your grandfather’s”. He spoke too soon because as he was eating his first meal at home in bed, who should appear? Well, I can tell you it wasn’t a jolly old elf in a sleigh being drawn by eight tiny reindeer. I had to run out of the house so neither would see me laughing and as I left I heard, “Ah, c’mon dad…for Pete’s sake…”

The second story I want to pass on is a very short story, unless of course I embellish it with a lot of useless descriptive verbiage…but I digress. It seems, when I was too young to remember, that my grandfather was helping my dad move a piano into our home. They almost had it inside when it slipped and dropped on my father’s foot. A stream of obscenity that would have made Barnacle Bill the Sailor proud flowed fourth from my father’s foaming lips (alliteration anyone?) and he viciously kicked the side of the piano. As my dad leaned against the piano breathing heavily from the effort while the excruciating pain was streaking up his leg from the injured foot my grandfather asked, “Well Bill, feel better now?” Dad revealed to me when he told me this story that he could hardly speak without screaming in agony but managed to serenely reply, “Yes, dad…it feels much better now”.

The final story about my grandfather, for now, occurred when we were still living in Ohio. He came over one Saturday complaining of sharp pains in his back. My dad asked, “What did you do? You are no spring chicken you know; you should cut out some of the more strenuous activities you’ve been engaging in.” Okay, you know and I know that is not the way my father talked and serene was never a part of his makeup, but I have grandchildren who read this sh*t, even when no one else will, and I must not subject them to the words that dad was so fond of using. Anyway, grandpa continued, “No Bill, I really didn’t do anything strenuous; I just woke up this morning sore and I can hardly walk.” My dad then became concerned and told grandpa, “Maybe you should go see a doctor…it might be something serious.” Grandpa indicted that he just might do that because the pain was terrible. Dad asked him, “Are you sure you didn’t do something yesterday that was unusual? That you were not used to doing?” Grandpa shook his head and answered, “No, nothing unusual. All I did was to take the Sunday school class roller skating last night.” “Oh Dad, you didn’t roller skate with them did you?” And with a straight face, which my father was unable to reproduce after Grandpa’s response, answered “Oh Bill that couldn’t be the problem. After all I only fell four or five times.” No wonder the old codger had bowel problems.

Next week's 09-05-2010 (#157) title: TBD

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