We all have that one relative that pushes the envelope a little, wouldn't you agree? The one people tilt their head to one side when talking about. Sometime tongue clicking or shaking head motion will follow. I know you understand.
Mine is Grandpa Gus, a surly old fellow that claims he was kicked out of school for eating the books. Lied about his age to join the merchant marines at 15 years old. Tattoos, oh yeah he had bunches before they were even remotely cool. My how I wish I had taken a picture of them... He had a giant eagle on his chest, arms and if I recall it was on his back too. My favorite tattoo of his was a question mark right above his pants waistline. When I asked him why he had chosen that he smirked and told me "so the ladies will ask about it". He married 4 times. Even with his tough exterior he still had a soft touch.
My Dad bailed him out of jail many a time because he just could not seem to remember not to drive his car after he had been drinking. Drinking, he did far to much of that!
When I was 5 he tricked me into eating his Copenhagen chewing tobacco because it was candy, I am embarrassed to say I fell for that more then once.
He liked to watch my eyes light up as he would tell me about being stabbed in the mess hall while at sea. Then when I grew and had kids he liked to watch their eyes light up too.
He died a couple years ago after living a hard life, he lived longer then I think any of us thought he would. In the end he stayed with my family for a period of time. My, how my kids loved having Grandpa Gus here. He watched the Discovery channel all day, was always looking for a cookie or candy, and believed no one made better coffee then Hills Brothers.
One day he finished off a jar of the kids Gummi Vitamins because he thought they were candy...Dementia, yeah he had that too. He spoke Swedish like his mother before him and loved teaching us the Swedish words for things in the house. Not all rated G either words either.
One little quirk he had was ketchup on everything... the only things he said he would not use it on was cantaloupe and ice cream.
Why do I write this today, so I do not forget him. Remember your crazy, push the envelope relatives, don't let their memory disappear. They are part of the fabric of you. He is the stuff stories are written about. He lived his life on his terms. I am really nothing like him other then the fact that I tend to put BBQ sauce on much of what I eat. I still love to think about him though and what kind of life he lived.
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