I sometimes think about them and get angry at cigarettes. Yeah, I know that cigarettes didn’t actually kill them; that was ignorance and addiction, but I still blame the tobacco. Who else can I put the blame on? I can’t personally go and figure out who the bigwigs at JT International were between 1935 and the early part of this century, drive to their homes, and beat the living shit out of each and every one of them. Can I? I would love to film myself kicking the piss out of one of them, while calmly explaining that they were partly responsible for the untimely death of two of my favourite people in the world. Maybe pulling a fingernail or two out, or lock them in a vehicle with a carton of flaming smokes until they most certainly get a couple of spots on their lungs as well. I have thought long and hard about what I’d like to do to mete out the proper justice for their crimes against humanity in the name of greed, but what good would that do?
Maybe I could get one of them to sit with a cancer patient for the entire term of their disease, getting to know them, care for them, and most of all, watch them. Watch them lose most of their body weight, their spirit, and their dignity. Watch them writhe in pain, lose their depth perception, and talk to people who aren’t there. I think that it would be a far more fitting punishment than the beatings, although not nearly as satisfying for me. If I thought it would help anything, I would get all “Law Abiding Citizen” on their asses, but it would be a never ending battle, and frankly, I don’t have the stones or the patience for that. I’d rather just lament on this blog, playing to your emotions and hoping that if you are a smoker, you will finally decide to quit. Don’t quit because you want to live a longer, more healthy life, or save a shitload of money. No, you should do it so that your loved ones don’t have to suffer through the agony of watching someone that they love, die a slow, painful death.
There, now that I’ve probably finished my “holier than thou” guilt trip, I’d like to tell you about my Nana and Papa. Nan was born in 1925, and Papa in 1934 in Rochester NY, and came to Cobourg on one of the ferries that used to run across the lake. They came across as kids, and didn’t meet each other until they were adults. I’m not going into a huge back story, because I really don’t know too much about their childhoods. I do remember a funny story about Nana going to her grandparents on the farm, and they had real butter. I guess all Nan had was lard to eat at home, so her and her brother would run to the basement where the butter was and eat it by the handful. I find that pretty disgusting, but I guess there would be no constipation for a few days. I also rember that Papa used to ride his bike down to the harbour, and he would dive for change that the tourists would throw in the water. It was during the war, so you did what you could to help out. I know his bike had wheels that were wound with rope because there was a rubber shortage. I also know that they were strict parents, but had softened considerably as grandparents.
No, I’m not going to reminisce about things I wasn’t around for, I’m going to tell you about the things that I was around for. I was around for a lot of cuddling, nuzzling, and spoiling. I was also there for the odd spanking, but I can’t remember them being overly hard. I remember pulling her pots and pans out of the cupboard, and beating them like a red-headed step child, and also watching her use those same pots and pans to make us some of the best meals we ever tasted. I remember her and Papa in their huge garden, rototilling, planting, and weeding; always letting us kids eat all the peas we could shell, or whatever else was ready at the time. I was there for all kinds of canning, and also for as many Friday night card games as I was allowed to go to. They had tons of those Wade figurines from the boxes of tea, and great bags of buttons and seashells. There was also a Hi-Fi in the living room, and some of my uncle’s old records to play on it. Oh yeah, how could I forget… CABLE TV? Every channel, crystal clear reception, all the time. That was simply astonishing for me, seeing as I was from the country.
As I got older I came to rely on them for almost everything. Probably since I started going to high school in town, anyways. They were my ticket to not have to bum rides all the time, and to always being able to get a good, homecooked meal. As I reached my adult years, I spent a lot of time there, and really enjoyed hanging out with them. Even my friends enjoyed having a few drinks with Nan after Papa died. She was always up for the challenge of teaching us young guys how to drink properly, and by properly I mean a lot. She lost a lot of her spark after cancer took Papa, and she never fully recovered from that. How could you? That’s someone you did everything with for most of your life, and now they’re gone. She started trying to do things to keep her mind off of it, but none of it worked. I know it didn’t, because I would hear her talking to him, and holding conversations for several minutes. It was heartbreaking to witness, and I hope I never go through it. I actually know I won’t, because I’m only going to live for two days after Mrs. Birdman kicks off, we have already discussed it. None of this “living with a broken heart” bullshit for us thanks.
I hate graveyards and old pawn shops, lord they always bring me tears,
(part two, coming soon)