He also smoked. A lot. Birthday cards and Christmas packages
reeked of stale nicotine. Carrying his clubs down the fairway I was
about 12 I repeatedly burned my arm, accidentally rubbing it across a
burning Marlboro attached to the bag. When he hit a three-iron into the
Rock River, he didn't swear, but simply took a long drag and contemplated
what he'd done wrong with his swing.
Grandpa hasn't been feeling well lately. Sluggish and dehydrated,
he's lost a lot of weight. Last night we spoke briefly, but he sounded
frail and afraid. Mom has already flown out to be there; Uncle Matt
leaves Wednesday. Tuesday Grandpa will finally see the doctor his
first since the Truman administration and Matt expects them to find
lung cancer. It would surprise no one.
One of the reasons to transfer to a school in Chicago this fall
was to be closer 2.5 hours to my grandparents. But now I question
this motive. Though the Rock River will always flow and the crack of the
bat still calibrates my watch, I am not certain I can ever go back to the
idyllic days on grandparents' front porch. At least, not the same porch I
came to with my first bullheads.
And that has us all very, very worried.