I love my mother very much because she taught me how to be loving. And she taught me that laughter is an amazing thing. It is so fun and it gives you so much joy, and if you can have it or give it, it's great both ways. There are people that give you that joy in your life that make you feel young again. That's what my mother wrote to me on a letter when I was in basic training. I think she likes me a lot because I have her eyes. I got these big dogs.
My grandmother used to always compliment me, her mother, and be so sweet when she came into town. Make you feel like you're one of a kind, and that you don't have a clue in the world why there would be people out there in the world beyond the family circle that would want to say no to a face like that. That's a special feeling that is given to you that can't be replicated very easily. I'm thankful for both of them.
My dad's mother was as sweet as can be. My goodness. And she used to write me so many letters, even if it wasn't my birthday I would get a letter from grandma and she would talk about her life and ask about mine. I wouldn't always write back. My brother Matt would write back so much. I wrote her, and I got to see her. She told me on her final bed that she would be my guardian angel. A sweet thing to say. I have to honor her. Matt and I grew up close together, we were by each other sides as kids.
I watched Matt get his ass whooped behind the YMCA. Some kid Matt was bullying pulled a nice move on him and caught him off guard. He played the "Nah man, I don't want to fight" turn away and all of the sudden turned back and knocked Matt in the face. Matt was stunned and got a few more quick punches taken. We used to hang out at the YMCA a lot. We started off playing basketball all of the time and then we got bored of basketball and started playing ping pong and foosball and walking around the Y asking the adults for money so we could buy stuff from the vending machine.
I used to hit old people up for money all of the time, no shame, walking out of racquetball courts, basketball courts, everyone always scrambled to give you the change they had. Being a kid, the best time to ask for money. Stay young. I had one guy say no. And I'll never forget that. I imagine he's running a fortune 500 company somewhere in the world.
My dad played racquetball, what kind of person does that, huh? Trap yourself in a small room, put goggles on so you don't get hit in the face with the ball, and then start hitting this rubber ball as hard as you can at different angles until the other guy either gets hit in the leg with the ball or you lose your racket trying and it hits the guy on your team but doesn't fall off your wrist completely because you have the little rope thing twisted around it.
Racquetball rackets have ropes on them, that you tie to your hands, so you don't accidentally fling the racket into someone's face. I've seen people get big welts on their arms and legs from the racquetball, standing in front of a guy as he blasts a ball 170 mph into his back. The game stops, guy shakes it off, then they keep playing racquetball.
My mom helped me identify my sense of humor, and explore different things and be relaxed. She was someone I trusted. When we would go out with her and my dad's friends, I'd always whisper in her ear or say something under my breathe that she could only hear. Then she'd laugh and tell everybody what I just said. I loved her for that, but at the same time it was uncomfortable. I didn't want them to hear it, but I guess it was worth it.
I remember when I was very little, I was sitting at the dinner table in the kitchen with her and her friends, and everyone started laughing at something that someone said. And I heard them say it, so I looked at my mom, and I said the same thing, and she didn't laugh. She just smiled and nodded, gave me a "Okay honey, yeah, I know." That was my first lesson in comedy. The surprise was gone, she had already heard the joke. I was trying to get the same laugh that the person who said the funny thing got.
I can still make her laugh. We don't see each other as much, we used to laugh daily, but I recall the most recent thing I said to her that made her laugh was about bereavement. I don't know how we were talking about that, but the question came up whether or not dead people can collect bereavement. I said they can collect it, they just can't use it. And she laughed. I said it in a serious tone with one of those serious eyebrow looks. My mother has a funny sense of humor when it comes to pain and death. She always would love to see you in pain, as long as it wasn't too much pain, something that just stings for a little. Like if I stubbed my toe, she'd try to look serious, and then I could tell she couldn't hold it in. She'd start laughing. And I'd look at her with an evil stare.
Painful stories are funny. My dad's favorite story about his brother is when they spilled a big tub of spaghetti in their car. And as my uncle was trying to clean it up, he got sick and puked. My dad found that hilarious. He knew a guy on his football team that could do a coughing noise and spit at the same time, so you'd get spit on by him and wouldn't even realize it. He was doing it to the big guy on the football team, and the big guy got mad, pinned him down on the ground, stuck his finger in his throat, and vomited on him. Kids played kinda rough back then.
My dad used to reach into the story bag before he tucked us into bed at night. He would pretend he was holding a bag filled with stories and put his hand into it and tell us a story of his childhood. They were always good stories, he was a good story teller, and a good joke teller, although he did have a penchant for corny jokes. He's got good deadpan though, the most recent time he put a good crack on me was when I had a girl over for dinner and she told them that she thought I was cute. My dad looked at her with his mouth open in disbelief and asked her how many fingers he was holding up.
My dad is bald but he used to have a lot of hair. He'd had a beard his whole life, or at least as long as I'd known him, up until a few years ago. I had never seen him without a beard. He still has a nice face. Nice smile, he's a good spirit, always happy. He treats my mother well and has always told me to find one just like her.