Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hey Ho, Ho Hey! He's Not in My DNA!

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," where your god or goddess is our god or goddess! We show no partiality and play no favorites. Except for Mars and Mithras. We don't like them. They stain furniture.

This month brings the holy day of Samhain, and in honor of that we are taking a look at skeletons. The kind in the closet, not the one hanging on your front door.

Yesterday we established that my mother was a bastard, born of one man and legally claimed by another. Both men were living in her house when she grew up. Oh yeah, and she was an identical twin too. You could say Mama had a full plate.

My legal grandfather (We'll call him Adolf) was the neatest human being I've ever known, if you don't count those spotless Marines at the recruiting table. You dared not leave anything unscrubbed or out of place in his home. He always wore a suit and tie.

None of this, I suspect, will redeem him on the Other Side.

"Grandad" Adolf held strong opinions about the human race. First and foremost, he was in favor of rounding up and murdering every African American in the U.S.A. (Needless to say, he didn't call them African Americans.) He deemed these people lazy, stupid, and a drain on public finances.

His concept of wholesale slaughter extended to disabled Americans. If he saw someone in a wheelchair, or someone with MS or cerebral palsy, he would say they ought to be killed to decrease the surplus population. Think of Ebenezer Scrooge on Cracker steroids.

I won't use the word "Grandad" Adolf used to describe the disabled either.

He wasn't particularly averse to ethnic groups, so long as they were white and could spend eight hours digging a ditch without a break. (That's how he got his start in the oil business, by digging a ditch for an underground gasoline tank.)

I have many unpleasant memories of the man, even though he liked me well enough. I remember once when Mama was sick he took me to the dentist -- and rewarded my sitting for three fillings by taking me out for ice cream. I don't think he deliberately meant to make me faint from pain, but that was nearly the outcome.

One component of the Old Time Religion that I follow is the concept of justice. This concept of not judging others (and not actively advocating their mass slaughter) is common to many religions, though not always practiced with due diligence.

In "Grandad" Adolf's case, justice was served. He suffered a massive stroke that paralyzed his entire right side and spent the last 18 months of his life confined to bed in a nursing home. Where his caretakers were often African American.

In all the times I visited him there, I never heard him repeat the strong opinions he held during his vigorous years about blacks and the disabled.

Well, my grandmother's lover Bubba was no prize. No prize at all. But I can say without hesitation that I'm relieved not to have "Grandad" Adolf's DNA coursing through my body. I may be a little judgmental here, but old Adolf, for all his starched shirts, was not a stellar role model.

Live and let live, that's my motto. Trees, people, polar bears, you name it. Heck, you couldn't even get me to spray the salt marsh to keep the mosquitoes down.



Luna said...

A serious reminder that not all of our ancestors are the ones we want to meet on Samhain. Thank you for sharing.

Athana said...

"In all the times I visited him there, I never heard him repeat the strong opinions he held during his vigorous years about blacks and the disabled."

I love it!