My grandfather was in a pretty severe car accident about a dozen years ago, or so.
He was turning onto a 2 lane highway. Under normal circumstances, Grandpa would have had plenty of time to get across the road, but just about that time a teenager came flying up the hilly road in his truck doing about 100 miles per hour and t-boned Grandpa's pickup.
Now this didn't do Grandpa any good, but the teenager was in far worse shape behind the whole event, and I suppose that based on Grandpa's admittedly advanced years, the kid would take the opportunity to sue.
Grandpa's truck was totaled, but the engine was not completely trashed, so he sold it to someone else in town. In court, one particular exchange struck us all as quite funny when an asshat lawyer was unleashed upon Grandpa:
Asshat Lawyer: Now, I understand you sold the engine. What did you sell it for? [Asshat L. wanted to know the amount of the transaction]
Grandpa: Well, someone wanted to buy it, and so I sold it to him.
Anyway, justice prevailed and I think Grandpa was found to be no more at fault than was the rocketing cub.
A few years before, Grandpa was puttering around on the farm on the tractor, when the tractor stalled (same tractor from the ape-shit/bush hog event from a couple weeks ago) and died completely. He climbed off the tractor and got into its innards and directly the thing started back up, but he'd left it in gear when it stalled and it lurched forward, knocked him down and ran squarely over his pelvis. Naturally, the tractor was heading straight for the pond, and the much-abused man climbed to his feet, ran and stopped the tractor in time.
Grandpa was in the hospital after this event, but remarkably, no bones were broken. He was severely bruised and very sore. I'd say he was about 78 at the time.
So a female nurse came into the room to see how he was doing, and she started to pull back the covers while saying "let's see how you're doing here" and he said "but we hardly know each other."
He got so tickled telling that story, that it makes me laugh to remember it. Grandpa is one of those people who has this nasal sort of snort-wheeze thing going on when he laughs, and if the cornball joke he just told you doesn't get you, that laugh surely will.
One amazing moment to me was recently I was half-heartedly watching the 1956 John Wayne film The Searchers when a very familiar voice just jumped out at me. A minor character in that film - Charlie - is played by Ken Curtis, whose accent and phonation sound identical to the diction and sound of my grandfather's voice. The funny thing is that I saw that film a long time ago and I never noticed the similarity. But the point of departure is that Charlie in the film sounds like a slow-witted hick, and Grandpa speaks deliberately with impeccable grammar.
Grandpa didn't go to school past elementary grades, but his is an incredibly keen mind, and he's one of those rare people who can add or subtract huge sums in rows of numbers in his head faster than you can punch the numbers into a calculator.
Grandpa is salty, a bit ornery, and incredibly stubborn. Most everyone in my clan is mule-headed, and I sometimes wonder how we stand each other. Then again, we all have our little quirks that keep the rest laughing, so I guess we'll just go on loving each other and thinking that for all its flaws, our family was a pretty nice one in which to land. We're not fancy or rich in the worldly sense, but we have a good time.
12/27/2009 - Enjoying the journey is to know the true riches of life. Grandpa will by buried next to my dear Grandmother this morning.