Now that my grandma is gone, my grandpa lives alone in their little tin-roofed house, where they lived together for fifty years. It gets lonesome. He says he misses her.
He gets up at four in the morning and goes to bed around eight. He subsists mostly off of boiled turnips and collard greens. He refuses to accept help from elderly assistance organizations like Meals on Wheels, but when I come to visit him bearing a big bucket of KFC chicken, he devours it ravenously, looking like those Andean mountain climbers who lost themselves to cannibalism.
His days are spent in the service of that most underrated and important of life skills—the passing of time. He flips on the TV and watches the NASCAR races. He goes out on the front porch to check on the weather. He takes potshots at the groundhogs that are eating up his garden. He’s 91 years old and still keeps a six-pack of Coors Lite in the refrigerator. Mostly though, he just stares out the window. The arrival of the mailman is the most eventful ten seconds of his day.