Robert Hitt Neill
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January 2012 GrunkMovies


Robert Hitt Neill                                                                      January 2012


          We don’t watch much television out here at Brownspur, having made the observation years ago that there’s not much worth watching, at least not for what it costs to get all those myriad channels.  The Brownspur TV screen is usually just a venue for watching DVD or VHS movies.  The GrandBoys, Sir and Crash, are more often than not fascinated by the older VCR movies, so we’ve introduced them to the Star Wars series, amongst others, particularly the old mostly Disney films like The Jungle Book, or Cinderella, or Snow White – those kind of shows.

          But sometimes they find that watching movies with their elderly Grunk (Granddaddy Uncle Bob shortened to GrandUncle, Gruncle, then Grunk) can be trying, to say the least.  One has to admire the kids’ patience.

          For instance, we were raptly watching Star Wars II, The Empire Strikes Back, and the Good Guys were trying to get away from the way station planet of Lando Calriessian, and they got split up.  From down the hall, coming from the other way, Princess Leia and Chewbacca the Wookie see Luke Skywalker cut off into another corridor, but the Princess cries out to warn him.  The Grunk is a little bit deaf, and I did not catch the warning, so I softly asked Sir, sitting on the arm of my chair, “What did she say?”

          Without taking his eyes from the action on the screen, the five-year-old replied, “We’re trapped!”

          Since he said it softly too, I queried, “We’re trapped?”

          And the kid looks at me with all the patience in the world for an elderly companion, and explained, “No, Grunk: THEY are trapped!”

          Then right back to the movie, but ready for the next time he has to explain modern technology and language to an Older Person.  In a way, perhaps the boy was trapped, for he was bound to have to watch another movie with The Grunk.

          Which happened to be not that long in the future, for within two weeks The Grunk was called upon to GrandBoy-sit whilst Momma and Daddy went out jukin’, or the equivalent.  We ate supper, then snuggled up on the sofa with Sir on my left and Crash on my right, to watch The Lion King, one of my favorite films.

          Crash had not been feeling exactly chipper that day, so he more-or-less laid across my thigh and got comfortable, early in the movie.  I had been instructed to put the kid to bed if he drifted off to sleep, so he’d rest better (Sir and I tend to get caught up and join the movie action, especially the singing).  Along about the time that little lion cub Simba gets rescued by his Lion King daddy from the wildebeest stampede, then daddy can’t get out of the way and gets trampled, I thought that I heard a gentle snore from Crash.  I looked down, but could not see from that angle if his eyes were closed or not.  So I nudged Sir to glance across my lap to see if his kid brother had drifted off to sleep.

          “Sean, is he asleep?” I asked softly.

          I had to ask twice because Sir was rightly caught up in the cub trying to arouse his trampled kingly father, after the wildebeests (stampeded by the nasty hyenas at the King’s evil brother’s orders) have thundered on out of the picture.

          “Is he asleep?” I repeated.

          And Sir turned to me with an expression that said, “Lord give me patience with my grandfather here,” and replied as a five-year-old to a two-year-old, breaking the bad news as gently as possible, “No, Grunk.  He’s dead.”  I think the kid even patted my hand.

          Actually, Crash was still alive and well, not even thinking about going to sleep in the midst of such a good movie.  Within a few minutes, all three of us were singing, “Hakuma matata,” or whatever the warthog and his buddy were harmonizing on.  I’ve already said I am hard of hearing, but durned if I want to ask a five-year-old or a two-year-old to translate what dumb animals are singing!