I’ve long been drawn to the wise old figures in story — “the mentor,” as the archetype goes. The Yoda crawling around Luke Skywalker’s lunchbox. The Gandalf showing up at Frodo’s round door.
I’ve always wanted my own mythical mentor to show up when I least expect it, breaking my tedious present, leading me into a heroic new future. With all the hopping around I’ve done the last decade, you’d think I’d have found my Yoda somewhere along the way.
In third grade, my music teacher told us the story of Beethoven. I think it was Beethoven. I’m too lazy to google it now.
When Beethoven first started losing his hearing, he inserted a metal tube into his ear to help him drown out the excess noise and focus his hearing. As his hearing worsened, however, the metal tube served less and less effectual; to compensate, Beethoven drove the tube deeper and deeper into his ear canal.
My grandfather celebrated his ninetieth birthday last month. Family from coast to coast — West to East and North to South — converged upon Langhorne, Pennsylvania for our biggest family celebration since my grandparents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1998. A lot’s happened in the last two decades.
I’ve written previously about the one I call Ahh, and I’m sure I’ll be writing about my grandfather the rest of my life. He traveled the world speaking about God and miracles and smoked the sweetest smelling tobacco pipes on his front porch. That I could come from such a wise and whimsical man astounds me.