My gandparents on my dad's side lived in Mt. Vernon, New York. I have very few memories of them. Grandpa Milton passed away when I was in 4th or maybe 5th grade. And Grandma Sylvia when I was in junior high school. We rarely saw them - thus, the lack of memories. But I vividly recall the time I bumped into Milton's chair while he was taking a nap.
I believe it was during Thanksgiving, and so the perfect time to share this memory. We'd driven to Mt Vernon from Rockford, Illinois where we were living (a short year, one my whole family likely wishes to forget). There are a number of photographs hidden away somewhere of that trip - one in particular that sticks in my mind is of my youngest brother Pete and I both holding pictures and staring at them, I'm sure bored to tears. What strikes me as funny about the photograph is that someone - my mom or dad or grandmother - thought it was a worthy enough pose to capture.
At some point after that snapshot was taken, I turned around and accidentally bumped into the ottoman where Milton's legs and feet were resting. He'd fallen asleep in his chair, and when I hit the ottoman, I woke him. I looked at his face, my heart already pounding in my chest because I'm pretty sure Sylvia had told me not to disturb Grandpa while he was napping. My eyes met his, and I froze. I probably should've apologized, but I couldn't speak, couldn't breathe. I'd never had anyone look at me with such disgust, such anger. I felt sick to my stomach, but I couldn't turn away. I'm not sure how long we held each other's gaze, but Pete's voice finally broke the trance, and he and I scattered from the room.
And that's it. The only tangible memory I have of my grandfather. All the rest are from the photographs I've seen of him. It's from those I recall what he looks like when there's a smile on his face.