(radio and geek)

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About ME
(Damn it!)






My grandfather, on my mother's side, is responsible for every bit of good I have in me (how little or much of that actually exists is up for debate).

He died many years ago from something. No one in the family seems to be able to give me a real answer on it. I do know that if it wasn't ALS, it was a really close cousin.

I don't know what brought it to his attention, but I remember the day he walked away from my great grandmothers house. He was upset, she was crying, and the most my grandmother would tell me was "Daddy Woody is sick, and it has her upset." (My grandmother is referred to as Mom Mary).  His name was Carlos Woodford Bayes.  Everyone called him Woody, as Carlos was nothing more than a "smokescreen" because at the time he was born, it was better to be thought a Mexican than a Native American... and Carlos would explain away the always tan skin.

I remember the day he started using a walker. Shortly after my uncle was killed, he switched to a wheelchair. His routine was to get up, wheel himself into the living, and watch TV. By this point we had moved away, but we visited often. I brought him a tennis ball once, because I was sure that if he squeezed it enough, his muscles would get strong again. A year or so later, Mom Mary told me that when no one was around he would sit there and try to exercise with it.

He was the guy that always knew how to fix the TV, much like I now know how to fix the computer. I have no doubt where those troubleshooting skills came from. His voice went eventually. At first he lacked the muscle control to speak at a smooth volume level, then he lost the ability to form words at all. He'd holler, and grunt, but never as negative as those two words sound, and could drive me expertly through fixing the TV when it went out.

Even though he could barely move his hands, he moved them well enough to whip my ass at checkers all but once... and I'm pretty sure he let me win that one, although I could never prove it.

I remember the first time he held my youngest sister. He cried as he struggled as best he could to hold her. She was no more than a month or two old. I remember crying when my son was that age, because my grandfather was no longer around to hold him.

But one of the best memories I have of my last days with him, came in from a man I have never met, and now never will.

I was up later than I should have been, sitting on the couch watching TV with my grandfather. He had lost almost every bit of muscle control he had. But the brain was still on, and not dulled a bit. He sat there trying his best to keep the drool wiped from his chin... not a usual occurrence even with the advanced stages of his disease... but he was laughing... uncontrollably... as was I. 

Richard Pryor: Live in Concert was on HBO.

May they both rest in peace.

My oldest son has a certain view of the English language, that even to this day can entertain.  It started in his youth.  He hadn't heard the word "bra" yet, but he new what boobies were, and he knew what a shirt was, so he naturally assumed that a anatomical specific piece of clothing would be called a "booby shirt".  He had heard the term "firecrackers", and remembered fire, and cracker, but later forgot cracker and started calling them "firecookies".  Fire balloons were hot air balloons (he first saw them at night time... easy mistake.)  Most recently he announced that he had tried peacock pie, and liked it.  (I must admit, it would eliminated the debate on how to say pecan.)

My youngest is funny as well... but intentionally.  His only funny story about talking comes from figuring out how to say "hot".  It was his first word... and only word... for a month, where he went back to silence for 3 more months before he would start to talk for real. (A chatty older brother never really gives you a need, or opportunity, to say anything.)

Me, a parent.  I have an ex-wife, several old girlfriends, and a whole hoop of teachers that would shudder at the thought....

GREAT NEWS!  The R2-D2 Interactive Droid has been re-issued!  I saw a whole box of them for sale at BJ's Warehouse.  The copyright dates are 2005, so it is a new release... but I haven't been able to find them online yet.  For what it's worth, there are no new features.

Also... Serenity rocks!

David L. Cosner, LCPL, USMC
Lest We Forget
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