(Great Grand)Father

She saw him as this pillar of virtue, who crumbled as an icon for her.

There was a recent news story that reminded me of my family.

My dad’s maternal grandfather was a man everyone simply called Father. He wasn’t a Catholic priest, of course, but he was a deeply religious, pious man. I actually remember him; he died in the early 1960s when he was over 90. He was always decent to me, and my father adored him. But Father’s children clearly feared him. It was strange to me; he was a little old man, but my grandmother and her siblings, who were in their 50s and 60s were in terror of this diminutive fellow.

After he died, his house was cleaned out. And what do you suppose the relatives found? What they used to call “girlie magazines”. And booze. This was especially terrible for my mother, who had been married a dozen years or more to my Dad. She saw him as this pillar of virtue, who crumbled as an icon for her.

I’m not sure when I first heard this story – certainly not at the time – though I suspect I was a teenager. I DO know that my mother told of her disappointment of this man periodically for the next 40 years or more. I think this revelation really shook her sense of faith for a number of years.

Of course, the recent story that prompted this recollection was the stash of pornography found in the residence of Usama bin Laden. Or was it porn ‘stache? As more than one comic has remarked, USL’s off to meet his 72 vegans (David Letterman’s joke), or 72 Virginians, or 72 pick-your-word-starting-with-the-letter-V.