Saturday, April 1, 2017

To Understand The Colander, You Have To Wear the Colander

To my son Tommy,

Well, there are weird going-ons in this house. Yesterday, we discovered the basement foundation leaking in a spot square in the middle of the back storage room's west wall.

Water was pouring in. Seems the contractor your grandpa had out years ago to water proof the foundation did a crappy job of patching a pipe through the wall. It wouldn't be the first time we had found how crappy this contractor turned out to be, but it might have been one of the most non-appropriate times. I'd say he never really ever succeeded in waterproofing the foundation and we have been fighting these skirmishes with water for some time now. Of course I have no idea why that pipe exists, as it connects to nothing, perhaps just an unused foundation sleeve. Your Grandpa Leo would know. And why did it leak yesterday? I bet it has been leaking for some time but yesterday the stars aligned and showed it to us. Or perhaps Grandpa Leo lead us to this? Or perhaps Grandpa Leo is just screwing with us? One of his favorite sayings to me during troubled times was, "Don't worry. It will get worse."

This morning the electric in the house flickered off. Hasn't flickered in ages. It was only out for two minutes. Long enough to wake me because my CPAP went off. Long enough for Grandpa Leo's soul to say, "Let's see how you handle no electric in the...oh wait you already have the tubs filled with water in case of that? Good job boy. I'll turn it back on."

Of course, his soul has more to worry about than the earthly worries of this world. I know any coincidence or causation I attribute to him is more me reaching and trying to find him here with me in another sense. But if I want to find him here with me, all I have to do is reach in, not out. All we have to do is reach deep within ourselves and see the love and the memories and the teachings he left all of us. Like the lesson of the colander.

One of the most common questions I get about your Grandpa Leo is "What is up with wearing a colander?" They have so many theories even going as far to suggest he was part of the parody religion of the Pastafarians. Well, I can tell you...your Grandpa Leo was wearing a colander on his head way before any jackass started worshiping a flying spaghetti monster to make fun of religion. In fact when Grandpa Leo found out of that cult, he almost put an end to colanders, but alas beer mugs don't fit on heads. So what is the meaning?

The meaning is different for everyone. To understand the colander, you have to wear the colander. Of course there are some basic principles in the colander-head relationship. Donning the colander recaptures your youth, when a child would wear pots and pans and pretend she (or he) was an armored knight of yore fighting a dragon. Wearing the colander makes sure you and others don't take life too seriously and embrace the absurdity of it all. It fills a void, the need for silliness in our life, a need which grows larger with every passing year into adulthood. It is tough to wear a colander without wearing a smile and the world needs more people to wear smiles.

Now over the years, your Grandpa Leo would argue the practicality of colander wearing as opposed to the existential benefits. He would tip his "hat" to the foil wearing conspiracy theorists through out the world and argue it protects his brain waves from aliens or government spying. He would quickly point out that it allowed your head to breath while still providing protection. The iconic picture of you and him on the bench, with you in that colander, comes from bird-watching. Some swallows had nested on the front porch. You guys were going to see them. They were dive bombing people who got too close. Your grandpa wanted to protect your noggin. And you, you accepted the colander without question. And a tradition was passed on to another generation. Your Grandpa Leo also argued that no one else would pick up his hat and it was easily identifiable when he needed to grab it while leaving. And then there was the practicality that it drove your Grandma Roro just mad, a husband's prerogative.

Your Great Uncle Paddy recently donned a colander in honor of his brother. It wasn't the first time as you can see by an earlier picture I have posted below. This time, he encouraged others to put on their fanciest. Many responded. A fitting tribute to a man who knew much of life wasn't worth the worry and if you just put on your colander for a few moments you could protect yourself from the worry that comes with the stresses of life. Plus it is fun.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

P.S. The first one is of Uncle Paddy around March of 2015 or so. The rest (except for you and Grandpa Leo on the bench) are current and of people (the ones I have collected so far) near and far, donning their colander in respect for your Grandpa Leo trying to create some smile wrinkles to channel the tears away from our whisky.


  1. Sorry for your loss.
    May the colander and other memories carry through these tough times.

    1. Thank you kindly. The colander works for me as good as a Bruce Springsteen lyric or a Seinfeld episode for you :) (P.S. Don't stop writing for the MMK family and beyond)