A week ago, my grandfather died. He was a classic Southern gentleman, though like us all, he had his faults.
I only met him once, but I liked him a lot; I felt a kinship with the gruff man I first saw in California.I can recognize his humor, his mannerisms, even some of his expressions in Dad and me. And now he's gone.
Grandad was an officer in the United States Armed Forces. He was involved in the NIKE missile defense systems during the Cold War - he had fantastic aim. But he ended up alienating many people during his career.
Now that he's died, people who avoided him for years have come out of the woodwork. Not out of sentimentality. Not because they liked him, or he liked them. No. Because he had stuff.
Who gets his truck? Where's the will? What about that bank account? The trailer? His guns? Whose the inheritor?
I get that they're family. I get that his daughter should be provided for. I even get that his wife is still legally married to him, and thus should benefit from his death.
But it's disgraceful, dishonorable, wrong. Bickering over the effects of a dead man the way vultures might fight over a piece of carrion is shameful, vulgar, contemptible. Like magpies jousting over a piece of dirty aluminum foil.
To see my relatives care more about the physical objects Grandad left behind rather than the man himself makes me cringe. I loved my Grandad, and to see him diminished to the value of a trailer full of stuff breaks my heart. And I hate it.