Tag Archives: family

How to Take Care of a Drifter

This is an essay I wrote in 2005 about the drifter who lived with my family for a year…and how we finally “took care” of him.
-Pete

“Just dig!” I say to my mom. “It’s going to get too cold soon, and then we won’t be able to shovel anymore.” I swing the pick ax several more times at the frozen dirt, trying to loosen up the rocks and frozen chunks of soil so that she can shovel them out.

“It looks like this is gonna a pretty shallow grave,” says my mother, huffing as she scoops out another shovelful of stones and dirt.

“Whatever…As long as he fits. Dad says the soil is acidic here, so the body will decompose pretty quickly.”

“Oh! His body is already stiff!” says my younger sister, fighting back tears.

“Don’t worry, just a few more inches,” I reassure her.

Continue reading

Grandpa Catches a Possum

It was the night after Thanksgiving, and my entire family was at my aunt’s house in the Catskills. There was a big snowstorm, so rather than drive home, we decided we had better spend the night. Everyone got their room / bed assignments, one by one, until there were no more beds. Who got the short end of the stick? Me and grandpa. We had to sleep in the living room. Together.

For my grandpa, this was not a big deal. Ever since he got Parkinson’s disease, he quit sleeping in beds and started sleeping hunched over in chairs, because

  1. it too hard to move to a bed, lay down and go to sleep,
  2. it was too hard to get out of a bed in the morning
  3. and

  4. he drove grandma crazy.

That night, I found out why.

Continue reading