Grandpa (1990)

My grandpa was never Charles
All his friends called him Charlie
He was the guy you saw at the diner
With his single cup of black coffee
That took him and his cronies
Decades to drink at the counter.

You couldn’t argue with the man
He was almost deaf in one ear
And in the other he had a hearing aid
Which he’d turn off on you
At the slightest provocation
Leaving you to fume alone.

Home was where every piece of wood
Had been a “God-Damn-Son-of-a-Bitch”
Cursed personally under his tools.
His love was the big blue Buick
The one that got 3 gallons to the mile
The ashtray always filled
With crumpled Winston cigarettes
Until he discovered they had “sold out”
and put filters on the ends.

The cataracts in both his eyes
Made driving an interesting experience
Not that he really watched the road
Even when he could see clearly.
He was always too busy
Turning off his hearing aid
While Grandma was screaming
“You’re weaving all over!”

We all said goodbye to Charlie
One warm November weekend
Grandma, hundreds of friends
Even his own personal waitress
From the diner down the street.
He didn’t die because he was sick.
God just needed him for a job
Putting in some new wiring
Up there in Heaven
Where the Winstons are unfiltered
And the coffee cup is bottomless.



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