Half-Remembered Names and Faces

He died when I was five, and to this day I’m not sure if I really remember my great-grandfather or if the stories I’ve heard are so powerful that they’ve created the illusion of memory. Sometimes it’s as if I was a ghost-child in my grandparents house in the months before I was born, because I seem to have vivid recollections of events I never could have witnessed.

And then there’s the dog. My grandparents had a dog named Misty, and I’m almost certain she died before I was born, but I remember her dog breath and her wagging tail, and somehow I think it’s those memories that set me on the path to being a Dog Person, and not a Cat Person, despite the fact that I’m a LEO (and I have the mane to prove it).

But when it comes to him, I remember him as impossibly old (though he was probably only in his eighties), impossibly tiny, with a small voice. He smelled like coffee and tobacco, and sadly, it wasn’t the sweet scent of pipe tobacco, or the heady aroma of la gloria cubana cigars, but the stale, old smell of cigarettes – and American cigarettes at that. Note to all half-remembered old men: if you want your descendants to have fond memories of you, and you can’t deal with a good pipe, at least choose a clove cigarette, or, failing that, smoke Gauloises. They still reek, but at least they have a literary cachet. Orwell and Fleming smoked them, and I think Fleming gave his own habit to that character he created…you might have heard of him…Bond, James Bond.

But anyway, I have this picture, scanned by my auntie, digitized and data-sampled and all that, and I love it, not because I have any close association with my great-grandfather (though, I see now that there’s a definite THERE there in his eyes…) but because it seems so iconic…the ultimate little old Italian-American man picture.

And it tells a story, but I haven’t yet figured out what the story is.

But I think it begins with, “We called him ‘Little Grandpop’ when we talked about him.”

Thursday 13: RED

I’m in a thematic mood today, and the color red is speaking to me, so for my last Thursday 13 of 2010, and my first in months, I’m celebrating that color.

  1. The cloth cover, long since unprotected by any dust jacket, of my copy of Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne. I’ve had it since forever.
  2. The pair of Keds sneakers I had when I was five or six, and ran around the yard twirling and singing the theme song from ZOOM.
  3. The tea kettle that sits on my stove, and whistles at me. It’s overall shape is reminiscent of the FTD logo, but that’s okay, because I love flowers.
  4. My crock pot that I typically use for heating cider or making chicken soup. Pot roasts, on the other hand, I make in the oven.
  5. My favorite cardigan sweater, especially when worn over a red, black, grey, and white striped shirt.
  6. My much-mourned-for favorite bra: demi-cups, rhinestones tracing the contour, and it gave me the perfect ‘lift.’ I had to toss it after the plastic tube it had instead of under-wire snapped in two.
  7. Cranberry juice, my juice of choice, because I love the sweet-tart taste as much as I love the color.
  8. The holiday cups at Starbucks. Once they appear, you know the magic months have begun.
  9. Maximus’s collar and EZ-Walk harness. He’s a black and white (really a blue merle) Pointer/Boxer mix, and he looks so handsome when decked for walkies.
  10. The ink in one of my favorite Sarasi pens, given to me by a friend who said that if I used it to write, my writing would be better and more authentic. Also, it just makes me happy.
  11. Classic Coca-Cola cans: who says you can’t bottle joy?
  12. My Dell Studio laptop and my Dell Studio Hybrid desktop. I compose at the keyboard. Using red computers is almost as potent as using red ink, right?
  13. Bonny Doon Syrah, my favorite every-day wine. It’s difficult to find in Texas, but you can order it from their website.

The irony? As I write this, I’m dressed in black and Slytherin green.

Like this meme? Play along at the Thursday 13 website.