I adored my great grandpa. I sat next to him and held his old man hand, absorbing his pleasure that I liked to sit next to him and hold his gnarled hand. I was unselfconscious about my childish self being a delight to an old man. I was just delighted that I got to sit next to him with maximum body contact and listen to him talk about whatever he wanted to talk about, which seemed to be a lot about chickens and nuts and flowers and things. I liked to look at him and see the countless ages on his face, while I suppose he liked to look at my as yet unlived complexion.
I don’t know that he told me anything spectacular. It didn’t matter. I just wanted to be with him. By the time I knew him, he was kind of parked places. Here’s the couch, or here’s the rocker, or here’s a corner of a bench. That made him an easy target for my touching and attention needs.
I don’t want it to sound like I was an entirely passive child that never liked to romp around. I had my uncle for that, and I suppose Grandpa smiled when I rastled around and screamed when tickled. My uncle let me climb all over him and be as rambunctious as I liked, but I always went back to Great Grandpa. I liked to be gentle with him, and he liked being gentle with me.
Since Grandpa was older than Moses, I didn’t have him very long, and when I ended up with some of his possessions, I treasured them because they still felt like him. I could still hear his voice in my head when I wound up the old clock with the glow in the dark radioactive numbers and snuggled in his giant bed with the wicker headboard.
Somehow, I don’t think Grandpa would’ve minded that I decided to take that old clock apart to see how it worked. He probably would’ve encouraged my curiosity as I carefully laid out each piece as I unscrewed them, certain to place them in order so I would be able to put them all back together again. Success! The wheels whirred perfectly when it was a clock again. I could feel Grandpa smiling in the afterlife.
I still don’t know how clocks work though. All those wheels go around and make things move, but it’s still a mystery. I think I’d like to meet a real human being who actually does understand how a clock works – or maybe I don’t. Maybe the world is a better place when things like clocks remain mysteries? Clocks are probably made by dwarves hidden in mountains when they aren’t making magic swords or something.
My younger brother thought he was smart and tried to upstage my clock assembly victory, but his reassembly was a failure. The clock never worked again. He did the same thing to my bicycle. That brother shouldn’t be allowed around mechanical things, especially my mechanical things. He is not to be confused with another of my brothers who fixed my lawnmower with the spring from a ballpoint pen. Apparently the gift of mechanical genes is an uneven gift in my family.