“You’re the top,” he whispered with his voice like an aged and dissonant record player. I hugged his skeletal frame wishing I knew him better, or that he could remember who I am. He has ninety-five years behind him, each one, I’m sure, full of the same spirited amusement at life that he displays in his being, even at his impressive age.
Next to the bed on which he is perched stands a dresser. The top drawer is open an inch or two, with the ends of about seven silk ties hanging over. Al, however, never wears a silk tie. Instead, he always reaches for his Bolo Tie complete with turquoise decoration. Who needs silk ties, anyway?
On the walls hang memorabilia of Sante Fe Railways. He used to be an engineer, traveling with the horizon of the West stretching before him.
Also on the walls are pictures of family. Who really knows how many of us he still recognizes?
I hardly know my great-grandpa Al. But the select few memories of him I have are grand–even excluding the incorrect memory of him being the one to send crisp $2.00 bills to me. That was not my favorite, anyway. Instead, I have the memory of chocolate covered raisins, the reminder that smoke follows beauty, and a shiny gold tooth reflecting through his laughing grin.
I don’t know Grandpa Al very well. We have lived in different states my entire life. Only recently has his presence been felt nearby. But, despite his lapsing memory and age, and despite my not knowing exactly how to act around him, I feel that somehow we are kindred spirits of a sort. I can’t explain why. Luckily for me I have got the entirety of the life to come after this one to learn why I feel so connected to him.