I used to visit my grandpa when I was a kid. He was a calm man. He told great stories. He was the sole person I have ever met that made religion feel genuine. His love for others and his kindness was deep and profound. He had once been a hell-raiser and the like but had finally calmed with religion and age.
He had a golf buddy. His buddy had stepped on a landmine in WW2. He had a glass eye. A badass Marine tattoo on his forearm and was missing most of one leg. He told me the story of waking up in the hospital mangled and bandaged missing an eye, most of one leg, and his narrowly managing to keep both arms......he would tell other stories about war when his wife and my grandma weren't around. He spoke of watching men climb screaming in flames from tanks, of clasping his pistol in case "a fuckin' German" came for him after the mine went off. He was an older man, in his 60's....but I was pretty sure he was still one tough bastard.
Both he and my grandpa had a profound calm. A view/acceptance of the world I can only equate to a form of wisdom. I wonder if the world is still producing men like them. Society is screening for the risk-averse men more and more it seems. Historically far less men reproduce than women. Historically far more men die from the plethora of high-risk scenarios which plague our gender.
At the end of the road, I want to know that I lived and experienced. I don't expect the wisdom I felt in the old guys that loom over my childhood like semi-legends. It would be nice, but I don't expect that wisdom. I can only hope that Sir Wm. Blake was right and that "the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom."
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