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Ode to my grandfather

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook likely saw the news that I posted about my grandfather dying early Tuesday morning. He had been suffering for a long time now, and his physician had been predicting that he “wouldn’t last the week” for almost two years – almost since the day my grandmother died. Those of you who sent me condolence emails or messages through Twitter or Facebook, thank you very much.

I moved away from Boston when I was three, and can count on one hand the number of times I saw my dad’s parents after that. They came down and visited twice and we went up to visit them three times. I wasn’t particularly close to either of them, although my grandfather and I communicated during college quite a bit. Even though he only had a sixth-grade education, he would write me letters and send money every few months. I would always reply with my own letters, and we communicated like that during my entire college career. It was a very sweet gesture, albeit an occasionally indecipherable one, and I took every chance I had to tell him how much it meant to me that he would send those letters.

Until the last several years, my grandfather was in amazing health. Before a hospital visit in 2001, the last time he was in the hospital was in the Korean War when a jeep he was driving exploded. He walked away without a scratch but they insisted on taking him the hospital anyways. He was probably the toughest person I’ve ever met, and it was always difficult to see him in a weakened condition. The last time I saw him, he was staying in a hospital room with my grandmother and was raring to get home. He also handed me the last letter he’d ever write me and asked me not to open it until after he had died. I searched through my file cabinet on Tuesday and finally found it, a normal-looking 8X10 envelope with “Adam Heath Avitable” scrawled, barely legible, on the front. I smiled at the fact that he uses my full name just like I do, and began to read:

Dear Adam,

If you are reading this, then I have finally passed on, hopefully to a better place. Or so it would seem. However, it is likelier that I will crawl from the ground a hungry brain-eating monster, shambling from victim to victim in my never-ending quest for a meal. You were my first grandson, so I am entrusting you with this letter in order to avoid a zombie plague like the famous Undead Attack of ’66.

Here are directions to my pre-purchased grave site. I need you to fly to Boston and come to the grave, where I have hidden a shovel. Take the shovel and dig up my coffin. When you open the coffin, be very careful to keep your hands and fingers away from my mouth, as zombies can be quicker than they look. I need you to separate my head from my neck, put my head in a box or bag, and then bury it in a separate location.

Two years ago, when your grandmother died, I had to go through this same process and she almost got me. In fact, she managed to turn two groundskeepers into the undead before I could stop her rampage. Zombies are serious business, and you cannot take this responsibility lightly!

I cannot ask your father to do this, as I know it would be too difficult, so the burden rests on your shoulders alone. Tell no one of this letter, as we do not want to cause a panic in the streets about future zombie attacks.

May God have mercy on our souls.

Jerry Avitable*

So, I’m off to Boston. Wish me luck?

In other Avita-news, tonight we’re having a Britt-free installment of “Clearly, You’re Retarded!” Stepping into Britt’s highly capable fashionable shoes is the intelligent, although not quite as smart as me, Faiqa!

The show starts tonight, Wednesday, at 9 PM EST, and our topic is about destroying children’s dreams. More specifically, should parents encourage and support a belief in fictional characters like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy? Is lying to your children okay in this situation?

If you’re going to listen, I strongly suggest that you download the TalkShoe Pro software – it’s free and much more stable than the web interface. Listen live online here: Clearly, You’re Retarded


*This letter may or may not be fabricated and I am not actually going to Boston to do any such thing.

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57 Replies to “Ode to my grandfather”

  1. LeSombre

    I thought my grandfather was weird because he wrote in his will that he wanted to be seated in his favorite chair at the head of the table, holding a beer and a cigar, while the family had a big meal and told jokes.

    I kid you not.

  2. Grant

    It could be a trap. He has you loaded for zombie, but how do you know he won’t come back as a werewolf or vampire instead? Take along wolfsbane and garlic just to be sure. If he turns out to be a ghoul, you’re screwed – I don’t know how to stop those.

    Just my way of offering my condolences.

  3. Faiqa

    ๐Ÿ™ I missed this huge piece of news because … I am the worst friend. Ever.

    That aside? It’s cute how you think you’re smarter than me. I’m smarter than you in every sense of the word. And you know it.

  4. Sarah

    I had no idea about this because I suck at following people on twitter. Sorry for you loss hon.

    But that has to be like the best letter ever to get after someone has died. So is your whole family this awesome?

  5. NYCWD

    Hence why Twitter is the suck… because I do indeed follow you… but must have missed the tweet.

    My condolences on your grandfather’s passing.

    Don’t forget the flaming flasks of holy oil and your whip.

  6. Mari

    My condolences on the loss of your grandfather. Mine passed away about 6 months ago. Although he didn’t say anything about zombies, he did ask that we carry his corpse up into the mountains, find a cave and leave him there.
    I think you’ll have better luck than I. You could at least say that he had been buried with something valuable….

  7. Sybil Law

    I know some people in Boston who would be willing to help you, should you need it.
    I also know some people in Boston where, if a skull turned up buried on their property, that wouldn’t be surprising, so email me if you need the location!
    Again – sorry to hear about grandpa. How nice of him to worry about possible zombie attacks!

  8. Cissa Fireheart

    Again, sorry for your loss. But I think it’s great that your grandfather wanted to pass a tradition onto you ;). Good luck with it.

    Send me an email if you will have some free time while up North here. Maybe I can drive up there, or you could drive here to CT, and we could meet up for the day. It’s 2 hours, but it’d be cool to meet. If you are up to it anyway.

    See you tonight at the show. Yep, again I have an opinion I wish to share.

  9. Cris

    This kind of thing really pisses me off. Sorry to say but your grandfather is wrong dude. A shovel is a slow and clumsy tool for decapitating zombies. You need to take a pick, which has a good flat chopping blade on one side. Oh and beware the groundskeeper, I believe they are always in league with evil. Maybe you can distract them with some milk and hash brownies set out on the far side of the cemetery. It’s risky because if he is a zombie too, you might be giving him the munchies. Which would be bad.

    Oh well, I am very sorry for your loss. It is way cool you guys shared a sense of humor.

  10. Sheila (Charm School Reject)

    Reason Number Eleventy Billion why I need to remember to check twitter updates more often.

    As sorry as I am for your loss, I must make your day even worse….you see, I can’t make it to the show tonight. Only tonight, it’s not church keeping me away. I’m going to see Britney Spears. It’s okay – you can laugh at me.


  11. floating princess

    Is this like a family curse? Are you going to make your poor wife dig you up and lop off your head? You should have some kind of pre-burial advanced directive because we girls aren’t all that fond of digging holes, especially in the middle of the night.

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  12. Melanie

    I missed this tweet also, but you have my deepest sympathy.

    And, you know, if one must lose one’s grandpa, having to jump on an airplane, exhume said grandparent’s corpse, and decapitate it might just make up for… what the fuck am I saying?

    Let’s leave it at “deepest sympathy.”

  13. whall

    Your grandpa is one funny dude. My cousin works for the Massachusettes National Guard and forwarded me a copy of a letter that his XO and Commander received:

    To Whom It May Concern:


    I’m writing to you in earnest. Please heed my warnings as it may save lives. My grandson is a fucked up ‘tard. He’s a big gorilla dude who will believe anything and I heard from a nephew of mine that he plans on coming to town, shovel in hand, decapitating corpses in Boston Memorial Cemetary. He thinks there are zombies or something – yeah, I *know*, crazy.

    Do me a favor and keep an eye out. Also, you can check with the Florida Guard units that it took thirty reservists 3 hours to get him down with normal means, so you might want to go straight for real bullets or howitzer 108’s or whatever you guys use now. M60? I don’t know, just don’t leave any room for error.

    Oh, and if he says I put him up to it, just know he’s a master counterfeitter. He can charm the pants off the Pope, so don’t fall for any of his tricks. And don’t let him even *see* any dolphins (don’t ask).

    Papa Avitable

  14. Avitable

    Amanda, and then having a pint.

    Nanna, moi?

    LeSombre, now that’s much cooler than a fake letter from my grandfather.

    Marty, it IS something I would say. My grandfather would never have written that!

    Grant, for ghouls, you also go for the head and use salt.

    Dave, you just have to know where to look.

    Karl, if I were actually going to Boston, do you think they’d let me bring a flamethrower on the plane?

    LMSS, I wish it were real. It’s not. I mean, he had a sense of humor, but not like that.

    Fantastagirl, thank you.

    Kim, in my limited memory of him, he does.

    Atomic Bombshell, as long as I protect my neck.

    BE Earl, I’m not going to make the trip up there, unfortunately, but fortunately that means no having to buy pants!

    Faiqa, you’re not the worst friend. I promise. Thank you. And you wish that you could hold a candle to my brilliance.

    Sarah, they would be. However, my gullible dear, my 80-something year old grandfather did not write me a letter about zombies. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Colleen, ooh, very nice pun.

    NYCWD, that’s why I didn’t rely solely on Twitter and wrote about it today as well.

    Just Beth, or you could just say that I wrote the letter and falsely attributed it to him! ๐Ÿ˜€

    DaDuck, no worries. I don’t expect most people to see big news on Twitter.

    Selma, thank you.

    Bubblewench, I’m a regular expert.

    Kapgar, thank you.

    Mari, that’s a strange request on your grandfather’s part.

    Sybil, he planned ahead, he did.

    Cissa, if I were actually going to Boston, I’d probably give you a call.

    SciFi Dad, how are you with a backhoe?

    Robin, I was going to make the trip but decided not to because of work.

    Cap, a non-zombie Avitable is bad enough!

    Dawn, thank you.

    Hilly, hahahahah bitch!

    Cris, my grandfather’s sense of humor didn’t usually range into the absurd. He might have laughed at this letter, but he never would have written it!

    Cristina, Twitter’s not usually good for important information unless you happen to be there at the right moment.

    Finn, it’s good that you’re not a zombie . . . yet.

    Jay, thanks, man.

    Popping Bubbles, good thinking!

    Jeff, shovels at the ready!

    Lydia, thank you.

    Sheila, see – fate told you to listen to our show.

    Floating Princess, zombiness only goes down the maternal side.

    Melanie, deepest sympathy it is.

    Clown, I’ll play with my penis like I usually do when I’m giving you a signal.

    Valerie, I won’t be attending the funeral, unfortunately.

    Liz, I won’t be there, though.

    Whall, ooh, eerie. A message from beyond the grave.

    Sybil, he’s a funny guy, that Whall.

  15. Kat

    Sorry to hear of your grandfather’s passing.

    You need to be prepared for any scenario when you go to his grave in case he comes back as something else, OR, if there are other things lurking on the cemetery.

    1. blade for cutting off his head so he can’t come back as a zombie.
    2. a gun and silver bullet for werewolves.
    3. a cross and stake for vampires.
    4. salt to draw a protective circle around you and throw at demons, and also some holy water in a super soaker to shoot the demon with.

  16. Janna

    I saw the tweet but wasn’t sure of the right thing to say.
    I hope you’re doing ok.

    If you end up turning into a zombie, can I hire you to eat the brains of a few people who are annoying me?

    Only a few.

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