blueberries for you fyn, dennis, and i saw an old man in a wheel chair today, this third day of indian summer in western pennsylvania, this wednesday in america, while we are still alive.

we watched him moving quickly towards us, pushing himself with the aid of just one leg, the other one was missing above the knee.

a cool breeze blew out of the warm, cloudless blue sky that the full moon had set in earlier, and it stood his short, grey hair on end. as he approached, i could see his eyes squinting to look at me. his t-shirt read, "beer:the breakfast of champions."

he asked us what we were doing and we were glad to tell him about all the topsoil we brought in, the birch trees we would plant, and how beautiful we were making the apartment complex he was living in.

fyn asked him what he was doing.

he said he was off to get a draft and a sandwich. "want me to bring you one," he asked, and i could see a few of his teeth were missing. "sure," i said, even though i wasn't sure if he meant the food or the beer.

it didn't really matter. i just felt honoured to be able to talk to him.

we watched him wheel away down the sidewalk, arms pushing with dertermined precision. everything presented an obstacle: the speeding autos of the four way, the uneveness of the asphalt, the sun in his face, but nothing slowed him down. he moved like he was under the controls of God's remote control, erratic, but purposeful, with no wasted action.

he was so fucking cool.
monoped okay, who's the joker who signed me up for this ass-kicking contest? 011003
unhinged my dad called me and told me the bad news. grandpa was sick...really bad cancer, three different kinds in fact. he woke up on monday morning with such horrific pain that he had asked my grandma to take him to the hospital (he hated doctors to the point of calling them sons a bitches to their faces so this was really something to be concerned about) and they took an x-ray of his stump to find all kinds of fragments broken off of it. any doctor would find that odd in man who had prostate cancer for almost 10 years and did a screening. turns out he had bone cancer his skull, it was just everywhere, and a tumor the size of a baseball in his lung from smoking unfiltered cigarettes for a good 60 years. i should come home next weekend he said as the tears slipped down my face. i agreed. it was something i couldn't conceive...that much pain. every breath had to have been torture. things like that don't develop overnight you know and he never said a word to anyone. he said he was talking all week about how he knew he was going to die soon while my grandma was making plans for the long haul with hospice and all. the tears just slid down my face and on the very rare occasion in my life i prayed for my grandfather. hey_god, he's been suffering for awhile. don't you think you could make it quick? for all of us? the next day i got a surprise phone call "we are here" and it hit me before i even knew. my grandpa was dead. dead as a doornail. i passed her in the bathroom and she gave me a hug and i started to cry. you know i was never particularly close to my grandpa, he was an alcoholic for most of my life and didn't want to have anything to do with any of us but my sister most of the time. i knew she was devastated. we drove straight there and everyone was sitting around shocked. they were all there when he died, but i wasn't. it was mid january and i hadn't seen him since thanksgiving because he refused to leave the house to come to our house for christmas. he didn't leave the house alive after they amputated his left leg above the knee. we sat there for awhile talking about the funeral. he wanted to be cremated. my aunt was really upset; "where am i supposed to go to be with him then?" we said goodbye to him on martin luther king jr. day which was very ironic considering what a racist he was. there were only ten of us at the service in the funeral home. he didn't want no big rigamarole he said. it killed me to see the big tears falling off the ends of my sister's beautiful eyelashes. watching the_one_legged_man_leave killed a little bit of all of us i think. 011117
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