Friday, April 25, 2008

Funerals make for great family reunions. (Originally posted on My Space Tuesday, August 16, 2005)

You all may have noticed that I didn't update my blog for a week. I went to Idaho. I have several different topics to touch on so the blogs will come fast and furious for the next few days I'm sure.

Originally I had planned to go to Idaho on August 11th and go camping with my Dad and Becca and Greg and his wife Genevieve. Well as a strange twist of fate my Grandpa died on August 4th and I ended up going to Idaho early but under much different circumstances.

First off the man we lost:

Roy B. Arnold, Veteran, Family Man, Golfer, Community Leader.

My grandpa was the kind of guy you would put into a novel as a seeming great individual. For all outward appearances he was an upstanding citizen...but there was a dark unknown facet to his character...well that's how you'd make it if you wanted it to be interesting. My REAL grandpa was all those things but without any dark side. He was an eagle scout who dedicated his life to the Boy Scouts. He was one of Idaho's leading Stock Brokers, helping hundreds of people save for their retirement. He was a good Mormon (we'll get to that one in a minute). He was a Veteran of WWII. He co-founded an exclusive golf course called Crane Creek in Boise. And he was a member of several community organizations. He was loved by everyone who knew him. He was a great great man.

He was not however the greatest dad. His relationship with my dad could best be described as "professional", but more acuratly would be described as "cold". He was near emotionless as far as I ever knew him. He had a great sense of humor but it was tempered with that stinging racism that most men of his age who lived in Idaho all their lives possess that makes every joke a potental teeth gratting embarassment. When my grandma died of breast cancer back in the seventies my Grandpa remarried a Mormon woman. This lady was nice enough (as all mormons are) but she slowly pushed my Dad and his siblings out of my grandpa's life in order to make way for her Brood of Mormon-lings. She had seven kids...who in turn each had seven kids, which is in line with the mormon edict of bringing about a fourth reich. My poor dad couldn't compete and he slowly watched as he lost access to the cabin and all of his childhood posessions were given away to the greedy hands of his step family.

This rift really hurt and estranged my dad and his brother and sister from even teh Arnold's (my grandpa's siblings). I was so suprised when I went to a family get together to see what close family the rest of the Arnolds were, and I realised it was due to the fact that my Grandpa was kind of a stick in the mud.

So his funeral was a colliding of these worlds. The tea-toatling Mormon sides with their strange rituals and off-key warbling and the Arnold's with their foul breath and strange occupations. I wasn't really all that sad about Grandpa Roy passing. I didn't really know him that well...we weren't close so to speak. The only memory I have of him outside of the odd lunch date with him and my dad was whn My brother Raleigh and I went to play golf with him a Crane Creek and he kicked our asses SO BADly that he refused to play with us ever again. It was really sad...

I was really sad for my dad though. My dad isn't really an emotional guy. He rarely talks about his feelings and it was hard to tell how he felt about his Dad dying. I'm sure he felt sad. But there was a lot of unresolved issues between them that now will remain unresolved. My dad made himself busy by making pictures for the wake on his computer and arranging the services. He didn't really talk much about it other than to say that Grandpa Roy sure looked bad in his coffin (which he did). And then after the funeral he dove into getting ready for our camping trip.

The only two emotional moments I felt (meaning the only time I cried) was when I saw one of the punk ass step-grand-kids drive up in Grandpa's old Pontiac 6000 TO HIS WAKE!!! I mean the guys hardly even cold and these fucking bastards are already dividing up the spoils...when everyone was inside I went out to the parking lot and put my hands on the car and cried. Isn't that wierd...I mean his body was inside and I stared at it without feeling anything...but then the guys car brought me to tears. The other thing that got me was that Grandpa was buried at the Idaho Veterans cemetary in Boise and they had an honor gaurd and did the folding of the flag and playing Taps and the whole bit. Then this guy in uniform handed my step grandma the flag and said something like, "The united states army thanks your husband for his dedicated service to our country." It was really touching. I thought about how grandpa had had a hand in liberating Jews from the concentration camps in Dakow and I was really choked up.

So that was the funeral and some of my thoughts on it. A strange trip that I will not soon forget.

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