Life is full of ridiculous shock and awe moments. Some of them are disturbing, while others keep you clutching your sides for years to come. Quite often, these two feelings collide to make a moment in life an epic historical spectacle that should be immortalized.
There was this one day in my life where I thought I’d seen the most ridiculous display ever. A moment that claimed this prize of epic milestones. This time was simpler, when the worst thing in my life involved going to math class every day at Montgomery Elementary school. Yet, at this point, school was out. It was a lovely summer day with baby blue skies (you know the kind) and little wisps of marshmallow fluffy clouds drifting on a casual breeze. The buzz of dragonflies and hum of grasshoppers played a taunting tune as we were being forced into a vehicle, far away from summer fun.
My mother gathered us kids into our rickety, white, pin-striped van. Some of us grasped onto the door in hopes that she would not close it on our fingers. My brothers and I were begging, pleading, bribing her to reconsider her position, but our propositions fell on deaf ears. And she almost did catch our fingers in the door as she slammed it shut.
For grueling minutes, we huddled in the center of the hot-tub-temperature of the van. It was dark(the shades were down,) sticky (someone spilled soda before,) and every thing we touched was like a burner that had been left on high for an hour.
Finally, light leaked through as our mother climbed into the car. “We’re going to grandpa’s and that’s the end of it. Get in your seats.”
The Horrors of Grandfather’s House
Okay, maybe we were a bit over-dramatic, but Harvey’s Lake was a 40 minute drive. Going to grandpa’s wasn’t exactly the most ideal scenario on such a lovely summer day. We plastered ourselves to the windows like Garfield cling decorations.
It was always the same. Grandpa always gave us stale candy, and would ask Dennis to beat video games for him. It was all well and good, but only Dennis ever got to play and not for very long.
“What do you think he’ll have you beat this time?” Philip asked Dennis, but he wasn’t paying attention. He was too busy being a moody teenager, staring out the window with his brow furrowed.
“God, would you just shut up already?” Dennis growled and hit Philip with his cap. “Just wait. We’re almost there.”
I turned away from the boys and sank down into the chair. To keep my mind off the enticingly sunny world outside, I tried to think of every game Dennis had played for grandpa. He had Super Mario World, Mario All-Stars, and Donkey Kong Country for the SNES. Recently, grandpa had taken a liking to the original Super Mario Brothers. Whatever game it was, I was still happy to watch.
When we finally rolled up to the ramshackle white and grey house near Harvey’s Lake, my brothers and I dog-piled out of the car in a giant lump; except for Dennis. He was still dragging his feet, grumbling about ‘stupid kids.’ We climbed to our feet and brushed off our clothing. Our mother ushered us toward the house when we noticed grandpa’s TV sitting outside on the stoop. We stared at it and groaned.
“Now what are we going to do?” I whined, but I stopped once I heard the recognizable Mario jingle. My mother glanced at the television, and I craned my neck over to take a gander as well. Nothing seemed to be wrong with it. She shrugged and entered the house. We halted in the doorway.
There was my grandfather, stooped over and staring into the smallest television I’ve ever seen, perhaps on a Martz Bus once. My grandpa was not a small man. He was large, about six foot, and very heavy set. His eyebrows were bushy black and his hair a wavy, permed grey. His lower lip acted like it was too big for his mouth to it protruded far beyond his top lip, making him look a bit like a bull dog. He never smiled, and he certainly wasn’t about to start now.
“Dad, what are you doing?” My mom asked, slowly guiding us into the house. “What’s wrong with your tv?”
“Nothin’s wrong. There’s this jump in Mario. It’s too big to make,” My grandpa said gruffly.
“Wait. You couldn’t make a jump in Super Mario…so-” Dennis started.
“Got a smaller tv. Make’s the jump smaller,” Grandpa said.
If only I was kidding…
How do you react to something like that? That lovely memory aside, I have told the story many times since then, and it never fails to get a dumbfounded look and a chuckle. There’s not much more to it, but my grandpa has done many things that fall into the epic memory category. And…I guess he eventually did make that jump.