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My grandfather was a tough guy. He killed lots of people during his 85 years, starting with his younger brother when he was 12. It was an accident, but his parents never forgave him. Then he went to WWII where he killed a bunch of people on purpose. During the war, he was a boxing champion, so I guess he hit a lot of people, too. After the war, he came home a little wonky. Unhinged as most are after they have killed on purpose. At his job as a Washington, D.C. bus driver, he beat a lot of people up. Not sure if any of them died, but I know of at least 1 that was paralyzed. He was a man of his times, I suppose. He once told me if a dog didn't behave you should hit it on the head with a shovel. Such was his attitude toward most everything.

I saw a lot of things at my grandfather’s funeral. I saw my grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s, look around for her husband, and ask me “Where’s John? He must be hungry by now.” I would point to the casket and she would say, "Yes, isn’t he handsome in that suit?” I saw a 10-year-old girl take my dead grandfather's picture. After doing so, she turned to me and said, "When is he going to wake up, anyway?” I saw a notorious drug dealer fall to the ground in agony, head in hands, at seeing his grandfather being buried. I saw a 500-pound man nearly have a heart attack from sobbing. I saw that my Aunt Wanda had had her hair AND nails done for the occasion. I saw my father sign his name to a baseball and put it in the casket. I saw a grown man sing to his father’s body. Twice. The same song. He pulled out his acoustic guitar and sang a country tune about how daddy is going to heaven to make a place for us all. It was horrible. I saw people act like they never thought this 85-year-old very sick man would ever die. There was much talk about how he was looking down on us right now. Being an agnostic, I really doubted this. Especially since he’d killed people and hit dogs with shovels.

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