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2006-05-02 - 2:41 p.m.

This also happened two weekends ago, on the fishing trip to the Smoke Hole. On the way back, after we'd been dumped on and after we'd caught our limit of last fall's leaves, we were in the truck, driving back up the winding road, on our way to the next stop. We were chewing on ham-swiss-and-mustard sandwiches my dad had made, drinking Cokes and grabbing from a big bag of Doritos. We passed another falling-down barn, all wet wood and holes in the top, and my dad pointed to a little bank on the side of the road. "Pap used to sell to that bank," he said. "To all these little banks around here."

Pap was a salesman for Burroughs, selling adding machines and money counters and typewriters and other big, heavy things. He did a lot of driving and worked a wide area: parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia. I was thinking of the picture of him that ran with his obit and how a neighbor, at the funeral, came up to my dad and offered her condolences. "Your father was so handsome," she said. "I figured he was good-looking when he was younger, but, wow."

And in the truck, I reminded my dad and my brother of that and my dad laughed.

"Toward the end, when Pap was forgetting a lot of stuff, he used to say the craziest shit to me," my dad said, his hand dangling over the other side of the wheel, steering with his wrist. "When I was younger, school-aged, Pap used to go to this bar in South Cumberland and just get shit-faced. He stopped drinking one day, just said 'I'm quitting,' and did, but for a few years, he'd go there three-four nights a week and just get wrecked. So a year or so before he died, we're sitting in the living room and Pap's playing solitaire and I'm reading the paper. And I see the obit of this guy who used to run this bar that Pap used to go to. So I said to him, 'Dad, Mike Nye died.' And he says, 'Who?' And I said, 'You know Mike Nye, the guy who used to run that bar in the South End you used to go to.' And Pap says, 'Oh yeah. Now I remember. I used to fuck his wife.'"

My grandfather was a handsome guy. It's true.

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