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My Grandfather is My Anchor in the Year 2021.

There are times when I tend to respond very negatively to anyone that reminds me of my father. As crazy as this is, this includes older men like Donald Trump and Governor DeSantis. They both have this undulating aura of toxic masculine bravado. The type of energy that says, not only do I think I know everything, but also I will gaslight you into thinking that you’re the odd one out for not jumping on board my crazy train. So, to remind me that there are incredible men out there, I force myself to remember my grandfather. 

 My grandfather was a World War II Navy veteran. I can’t even imagine being on board a ship and wondering if my death will come from above or below. Will I die from a Nazi sub or a Japanese machine gun mounted on a plane that would also have no problem slamming into the deck above my head? What’s crazy is that my grandfather was only 15. Yup, you read that right! My great-grandmother decided that the war was an excellent time to start investing. Unfortunately, instead of war bonds, she decided to gamble on the lives of all her sons. My grandfather didn’t have a birth certificate because if you were born down south during the height of The Great Depression, it was unlikely that your family would have access to such a luxury item. 

To top it all off, he walked into the draft office with nothing but a third-grade education because he was too busy helping to support his family to even make it past grade school. My great-grandmother made sure all of his and his brothers’ checks were sent to her. It makes me nauseous just thinking about it. I try to imagine the moment when they asked for his age. And, it’s not out of malice for the obviously desperate or possibly nearsighted recruiting officer. It’s because my grandfather was not much of a liar, and he was so thin and diminutive that he looked even younger than 15. I can’t imagine him trying to pull off such a thing. I’ve seen pictures of him during this frightening yet fascinating time in his life. My favorite one is of him and his shipmates standing on a set of bleachers. He is surrounded by these men who look like they are all blood relatives of the guy on the Brawny paper towels logo. If you play a hardcore game of Where’s Waldo, you will eventually find him nudged in between two men that are at least three times his size.  

I was lucky to inherit his uniform. To give you another visual of how small he was, you must know I am 5’4 and 180-ish pounds. The last time I was able to fit in my grandfather’s uniform was in middle school. It looks like it belongs to a child. 

After the war, my grandfather went on to become an electrician. Remember, he had not finished school before being swept out to sea by my great-grandmother’s greed. Also, my mother suspects he had some sort of learning disability and struggled with reading. Amazingly, through a lot of effort and studying, he overcame all of that and passed the necessary tests and apprenticeships. He went on to work on some of the most famous damns across this country and overseas. There’s a picture, which I am particularly fond of, of him in his electrician uniform and helmet working on one of the damns at Niagara Falls. Yeah, my little grandfather helped maintain larger-than-life structures built to hold back the wrath and harness the power of large rivers that often remind me of all the boisterous and bullheaded men that get on my nerves. He was stronger than them in so many ways. 

And it wasn’t just his career achievements that calm me down whenever the news is congested with greasy and growling men that have no regard for other people’s emotional and physical well-being. He was also a very kind and gentle soul. It’s no secret that my mother was more than likely the product of an affair. However, my grandfather did not treat her any differently than his other two sons. He loved her very much, even though she was a constant walking talking reminder of my grandmother’s infidelity. 

Then, when I came into the picture, he treated me no differently than any other of his grandchildren. I look nothing like my cousins. I remember him teaching me how to use a slingshot, fish, and most importantly, he was the grand purveyor of hugs and was not afraid to show emotions. I think the most important thing he taught me was that men don’t have to be larger than life, stubborn, and walk around with some strange sense of entitlement that comes with having a cock. When he finally succumbed to Parkinson’s disease, it was like watching a flame flicker way too long and too hard into the wind. 

So when I see DeSantis making all these decisions that are nothing but him grandstanding and trying to measure up to Trump, and all my innards twist and coil up with rage, I remember my grandfather. I could picture him handling all of this with ease and a sense of calm that only someone like him could have. He would be the first in line to get a vaccine, and he would make sure that everyone in his family circle wore masks. He would understand that this is not just about him and his family but the safety of everyone around him. His time in the United States Navy made him see that we can either die together or keep the ship moving forward. 

Published by fultontheauthor

She’s twenty-nine-ish and recently married a man who was either very brave or very stupid enough to ask her after witnessing thirteen years of mindboggling mental hang-ups. She has two beloved dogs named Huckleberry and Tom who moonlight as Canadian Mounties in their spare time. Her favorite words are whirling dervish and phantasmagorical. Her students at Miami Dade College inspire her to keep writing and never stop randomly quoting all of Bruce Campbell’s best lines in the Evil Dead series. Groovy! Her book of poems "To the Man in the Red Suit" is set to be published by the good people at Rootstock publishing in May 2020. Here is a link: https://www.rootstockpublishing.com/rootstock-books/man-in-the-red-suit

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