We were down at the little cabin on White Lake, sitting outside on the deck’s orange-vinyl couch on a hot summer’s day. I had just gotten out of the water and was shivering with the beach towel wrapped around me, my hair still dripping. I was pretty young; my feet weren’t able to touch the deck, and I swung them back and forth in a lazy, summer sort of way.
Grandpa had on his jeans, though it was mid-July, and his proverbial flannel shirt with the rolled up sleeves. He held a can of beer between his legs, which is how I usually remembered him in the summer. Just when I stopped shivering, I felt him nudge me lightly with his elbow.
“You know, Shari…” he began, clearing his throat.
I looked up at him in anticipation, squinting in the sun, as he tipped back the can for a drink.
“You KNOW Shari…..” he repeated, looking off onto the lake, “It’s all just BULL SHIT….BULLshit.”
He dragged the “bull” out nice and long. I knew he had said a “bad word”, but I said nothing in return, not knowing what he meant, but “feeling” what he said. We continued to sit in the warming sun with our own separate quiet thoughts.
For some reason I always remembered that interaction–the way he spoke, the emotions behind the words– and the older I get, the more I understand exactly what he meant.