A Portrait Of My Grandfather

I don't remember the conversations I had with my grandfather when I was little. I wish I could. I know that those conversations played a significant role in shaping how I think as an adult, and I'm inclined to think that most of my grandfather's conversations are just that - significant. What I do remember is the feeling I got from having those private conversations with him, about everything from the nature of the human mind to how an light bulb works, but always in terms I could understand. He's not a warm man, my grandfather, at least not in an obvious way. He was raised at a time when men did not express their emotions without reserve. I don't know if I've ever heard him tell me in so many words that he loved me, even though I've never questioned it. This was a more subtle warmth, a feeling of being completely accepted and included as a whole person, even though I was too little for most people to take me seriously. I felt...honored, when I was far from knowing what "feeling honored" meant. Honored, valued, and loved. I remember that feeling clearly, because it hasn't changed in twenty years.
He talks more slowly now, processes thoughts more slowly, does everything more slowly. His muscles are defiant, and from one moment to the next he fights isolated battles with his legs to stay balanced, with his arms to stay steady, with his fingers to type the right letters on the computer or to play the right keys on the piano. But he's still the same man, still my grandfather, possessed of an uncanny ability to discuss absolutely anything from Eastern philosophy to kinetic energy with curiosity and deliberation.
What amazes me most, perhaps because it's not the image of age I've been conditioned to expect, is his willingness, even eagerness, to inquire and learn. His diverse grandchildren have trooped through one family event after another with a wide array of friends and "friends" in tow, and no matter what their (or our) passions, pastimes, or professions, he has always asked for further explanation with genuine interest. Sometimes that has meant drawing out a new perspective on a scientific topic he knows well, while at other times it has meant listening to intricate descriptions of how airbrushing works, how found noise becomes music, what makes "The Jackal" a film worth watching, what it's like to teach at an inner-city school, or how insight is gained through shamanism. In recent years he began studying Taoism, exploring the idea of ESP, and reading books on recent advances in Physics. He's experimented with writing fiction. In his youth, he believed that intelligent women threatened the rightful role of men, yet today he's the first to applaud my academic and professional accomplishments without reserve and to push me to achieve at the highest possible level. I remember, not so long ago, being frustrated and angry when I found out that he was racist against African American people to the point that he wasn't even aware of the extent of his bias, and hearing my father's story of how disparaging his parents were when he brought home an African-American girlfriend in college. Now, when the topic of race comes up in discussion, my grandfather openly critiques his former prejudice, and questions himself about the biased opinions he still believes himself to hold.
In discussions, he always asks more than he answers, and listens more than he speaks. He never exudes a sense of "knowing it all" around young people, even children; it's as though he's hungry for as many perspectives as he can possibly encounter. And yet, without his lecturing or stating any definitive truths, I always come away from our talks with fresh ideas and newfound wisdom.
He is far from always serious, but his sense of humor is dry and sometimes subtle. At family gatherings, he inevitably tortures us on purpose with pre-dinner speeches that, while they are poignant and heartfelt, are always deliberately drawn out to the point of inflicting almost-physical agony, delivered with a sparkle in his eye that tells us he knows exactly what he's doing. When I've managed to get him on tape, he puts on a show by becoming an alter-ego, a caricature of an excessively grumpy, absent-minded and prejudiced old man.
My grandfather is not without weakness. His mind and his body are at odds, and for many years he rebelled against the obvious deterioration of his physical self. He is no longer in control of his bodily functions, which is an obvious source of almost agonizing embarrassment for him, but which has never made him less strong in my eyes. Getting him to use his cane, then walker, then scooter, was like trying to move mountains, and his stubbornness led to falls and injuries that could have killed him. I was furious with him, even harsh, when he would not take basic measures to protect himself from impending accidents. It took several of us saying openly that we expected to lose him if he kept it up, for him to concede. When he began to accept his mortality, he swayed too far in the other direction, and saddened us all by trying to casually give away his possessions as though he was not expecting to need them for long. He seems to be at peace with what is, now, and more emotionally balanced to counteract his physical shakiness.
My grandfather is the voice in my head, sometimes questioning, sometimes encouraging, and ever-present. He has left behind a legacy that will not be forgotten. For several years I have been documenting his stories, because I know that if I and when I have children, I want them to know him even if he's gone.
Watching him struggle with age, and make peace with it, has made me less afraid of aging and even death. I know that his time, and mine, is limited, but seeing him fill the time he has with inquiry, love (even if it's unspoken), and productivity, I am inclined to accept the time I have and to try use it well - whether the luck of the draw gives me six more years or sixty. Because of him, the word "old" has different connotations for me than it seems to do for most people my age. For me, I hope that growing old will be a combination of gaining wisdom, earning strength, and yes, enduring pain, but with dignity that supersedes the breakdown of my body over time.
It seems to me that most of my generation's heroes are the flashy ones, icons of strength and often youth, the high-visibility, high-publicity, high-volume variety of role model (pop stars, actors, war heroes, sports figures, sometimes politicians...).
My hero, for now and always, will remain a soft-spoken, slow-moving, terse old man in an armchair, with a diverse collection of facts and just as many questions in his head, possessed of a unique combination of humor, humility, self-awareness, curiosity, rationality, and love.
citystargazer citystargazer
26-30, F
1 Response Jul 22, 2010

curing sickness and old age with TIME you can control.
Here’s the recipe for the cure….

WARNING: DO NOT CHANGE HISTORY FOR PARTS THAT LEAD TO KIDS!

1. USE YOUR MIND - IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE JUST IN YOUR HEAD!

2. YOUR BODY IS A RAIL LEADING TO YOUR REALITY. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU DO NOT DIVIDE WHILE DOING THIS EXERCISE OR YOU WILL HAVE TO START OVER. YOU WILL NOT DIVIDE IF YOU THINK YOU WILL NOT, MOST LIKELY! (ANGELS HELP)

3. THINK OF TIME TAKING 24 HRS TO GO 24 HRS. (SPEED 1)

4. IMAGINE IT GOING THREE TIMES FASTER AND THREE TIMES SLOWER, BUT NOW IT’S STUCK TOGETHER. (SAME SPEED AS 1)

5. SPREAD OUT OVER TIME AND BE SURE TO STAY ON THE CUSP ALWAYS EVEN WHEN YOU THINK IN THE PAST.

6. IF YOU WERE GOING TO GET CANCER OF THE EYEBALL WITHIN A YEAR START FAR ENOUGH IN THE PAST THAT THE PART GETS HERE BEFORE IT CATCHES CANCER. GIVE THE PART AN EXTRA NUDGE (3X FASTER) AND AT THE SAME TIME, SLOW IT DOWN HERE ON THE CUSP (3X SLOWER).

7. TELL A FRIEND IF IT WORKED FOR YOU!

8. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT THIS IS THAT THE WORD GETS OUT. THAT BEING SAID, IF IT WORKS ON CANCER, IS THERE A PRIZE OR SOMETHING?

9. TO LOOK YOUNG, JUST DO THE SKIN ON YOUR FACE.

10. FOR VIRUSES, JUST GRAB THEM WITH YOUR MIND AND SLOW THEM DOWN BY 1/3 SPEED, 6 TIMES, A WEEK AGO…..REPEAT IF YOU STILL ARE SICK.

11. FOR FOOD POISONING, USE THE SAME METHOD AS THE VIRUSES IN #10, BUT ADJUST HOW FAR BACK IN HISTORY YOU GO TO BE WHEN YOU ATE THE BAD STUFF!-
christopherschmistopher70@gmial.com
christoherschmistopher.tumblr.com

Read christopherschmistopher time cure Remedy………slow it down by one third speed, (it only goes 8 hrs in your 24hrs,) six times a week ago. You will be creating a paradox by thinking in the past, so it is important to conglomerate reality by sliding to the left in your mind while you do this for just a moment. You will feel it in your spine and you should get a straight up and down feeling. To slow it down, grab it with your mind! You can “stick” to it if you try! When you are done slowiing it down a week ago, try to bring your mind back to the cusp instantly! (If you think it took a week to get back, your consciousness might be sore. If it is, use a different part of it to treat the sick area the same way, retroactively.)

Your mind does not have to be just in your head! It can be stretched to incredible sizes, and can even be out in the universe. (Try thinking a thought on the ceiling…)

You should not do this on yourself until you feel sick! (If you ever do). This is because by then your immune system is responding by creating antibodies for the virus!

When you do it, you should feel better immediately! If you were sick, and you do not feel better, perhaps you did not conglomerate reality while you did it! The slide to the left is a fast, fast slide! If you need to, ask God, Goddess, or the angels for help!

If you still feel sick, try to divide your antibodies for ebola into many by paradoxing them WITHOUT conglomerating reality. You can do this by sliding a thought (glyph) backwards in time a few minutes that pulls on the antibodies (NOT THE VIRUS!) If you screw up, back your mind up and push it forward the correct way, no big deal!

If you get it, it will hit you gradually and you will build up an immunity to it, as long as you (or somebody) do/does what is written here!

This cure should be used as little as possible, but if you need to, don’t feel bad about repeating it!

If you waited to long, you can get you body “pre-ebola” back by using the 3,1, and 1/3 time cure described at christopherschmistopher.tumblr.com, which is for youthful looks, and also is a cancer cure. It involves using your mind to literally “make” time!

Please let me know if this helps you!