Sunday, April 29, 2012


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Last year I began taking my 93 year old grandfather (Pop-Pop) to church on Sundays. Sometimes he'd doze off, and sometimes I'd poke his leg when he started to snore (like we had agreed), but overall it was something he really enjoyed (when you're 93, sometimes you fall asleep even when you're having a lot of fun). He liked the routine of going, the feeling of going, and especially that I was going. He'd often turn to me and ask, "Can you hear what the preacher is saying?" I would nod, and then a few seconds later he would lean over and tell me that he couldn't hear a thing. "Do you want to move closer?" I'd ask. "No," he'd always say. It didn't take me long to realize he was asking just to make sure I could hear―because that was what was most important to him.

The above misperception happened a few times when we ended up sitting closer to the front than usual, and I found it to be endearing. Outside of its own context (which to me is special and personal), I thought it was the perfect example―since it was literally what happened―of the trap of perception we're born into where we can't help but interpret the world around us solely from our own vantage point.

Pop-Pop hadn't been doing well the past several months―especially not in the last week and a half―and he died Thursday night at age 94.

3 comments:

Steve Rugel said...

I like your blog and have already looted some quotes for my fb page! Thanks for the great work.

Steve Rugel said...

P.S. I was going to say sorry for your loss, but Pop-Pop had a great run, didn't he? Anyone who makes it on this planet as long as he did...that's just a wonderfully long life. Celebrate him and feel good that he went without years of terrible suffering. He was one of the lucky ones.

Tyler said...

I'm glad to hear you've been mining my quotes post(s)! The ongoing collection is, in my view, one of the best things on this blog. Each one is meant as a kind of counter-punch against the inane "common sense" and backwards conventional wisdom we're taught / asked to buy into from day one (though bits of them, as I'm sure you've noticed, are arranged as a self-contained dialogue -- or chain -- of sorts).

As for Pop-Pop, I agree. He lived 94 years, nearly all of it in good health (physically and mentally)... One can't ask for more. His last 6 months were spent in a nursing home, and he had stopped eating near the end. It was time.

PS: I enjoyed your poem "men on cranes." It reminded me in sentiment (the crane top as a quiet, heavenly perch; a regard for outsiders), style, and sometimes phrasing ("desperado or lunatic man"; "like a sailor bent on mutiny / but without mutinous courage") of Bukowski.