When I tell you what I’m about to tell you, you will be unsurprised to learn that my Grandpa Phillips died of brain cancer that riddled the bottom of his brain all along his sinuses. My Grandpa Phillips practically chain-smoked Muriel Magnum Cigars. They came in boxes of 50 (they still may, I don’t know) and my Grandpa would go through at least five boxes a month. The empty boxes became trunks for Barbie clothes. They held nuts and bolts and washers and screws in his workroom in the basement. They were everywhere, useful boxes.
Nothing brings him to mind as quickly or as firmly in my mind as the smell of Muriel cigars. My Grandpa didn’t really like men, to put it mildly, and my dad was among his least favorite men on the planet. My Grandpa died when the Butcher was quite young, about three and a half, but the Butcher still has vivid memories of him hooking his cane around the Butcher’s ankle and toppling him over. For some reason, that cane came to the Butcher. I don’t know if my dad took it after my grandpa died or if the Butcher took it after my Grandma died, but it hangs over our mantle now.
It’s because of men like my Grandpa that I hope the afterlife is either a lie and we all just rest, finally at quiet, dark, nothing-filled peace, until we are food for worms and trees and grass. Turned over like you turn over a compost pile, reused in some way that requires nothing more of us than moulder in our graves until even they crumble. Or that we are unbent, unburdened by the things that weigh us down here. I hope people are recognizable, but I hope more that they are happy.
Ha, speaking of my dad, he just told me on the phone that I have to stop insinuating on Facebook that I’ve been cursed, since “life just happens.” I didn’t share with him that he sounds a lot like an old chthonic goddess.
Anyway, I think all us Phillips granddaughters have been known to smoke a Muriel in our day. At least, in our younger days. I’m not sure my lungs could handle it now.