Monday, December 31, 2007

More of the Niece and the Dog

Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Unpacking Begins

We arose bright and early this morning to pick up our u-haul van and spend most of the day moving our many things to our respective dwellings. It was a lot of work and we're both very tired. Eikon came back with me to St. Closet. Tonight we unpacked and put together furniture at my place. Tomorrow we will clean up the old apartment, and then go to Minneapolis (where Eikon moved to), go to Ikea, and do some unpacking (ikea reassembledge). On Monday our junk will be hauled to the dump.

On another note, I received medical clearance for the peace corps this morning. It's starting to seem like my Africa adventure really is going to happen! Rock on! :-)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas

I'm still recovering from Christmas Masses. To top it all off, I drove home in three hours of snow, and then hit a deer two miles from home. Anyway, It's been nice. Home is crazy! Being in Iowa, we got to see Hillary tonight. It was kind of exciting. More blogging later.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Cheers to you, Grandpa

My grandfather has been dead since 1997. He was a good guy - cantankerous, with a strong spirit. Luckily, that has been passed down through my father to myself. When he was only about 10 his mother and baby sibling died in what Grandpa proudly claimed to be "The first car accident in Minnesoata" - this would have been around 1920.

After the death of his mother, his father, Frank, took my grandpa (little Ed) and his brother (little Alex) and moved to Iowa to be with his family. From that you age, Ed was used as cheap labor on the farm. This included not just menial farm tasks, but also making illegal booze to be sold for steep profit to mobsters.

That booze, Templeton Rye, is now immortalized by a group, including relatives of my father, who have started a very successful distillery, using that prohibition era recipe.

Some people in my family think this is really cool. I have a cousin who harassed my mother about getting bottles of it. My mom, too, is excited about the company.

I'm not too sure what I think.

Grandpa was a life long alcoholic. Did I mention that? I can't help but think - but know - that it all started there in Templeton, Iowa. I can imagine him, an adolescent, doing hard labor all day, and drinking away the sorrow - the death of his mother. This is all speculation, of course, but I think research will show you that alcoholism starts long before the legal drinking age.

He was a functioning alcoholic, like many from that era. He was a successful business man, and made his living owning and running two stores in Guthrie Center, Iowa. In his later years, he drank less, and presumed the role of eccentric old man - driving his 1980's furniture moving van around the city wrecklessly - heckling the neighbor kids as the played basketball - walking around with his cane, talking to strangers.

Then he died.

His liver got the best of him. His past got the best of him. Templeton rye got the best of him.

I'm torn between celebrating the success of this new company and thinking that some parts of the past are better left undisturbed. Alcoholism was rampant among the Iowa Germans of the prohibition era and the great depression. Alcohol killed both of my Grandfathers. That's nothing to celebrate.

That said, when I'm home with my family this Christmas, I'll probably have a drink for Grandpa - just one. Maybe a sip will bring me Grandpa back, maybe I'll be able to better understand his life- A taste of an orphaned boy with no future.

Cheers to you, Ed.