My father left when I was quite young and I was raised by my mother... an all too common scenario for my generation. The male role model in my life, other than my brother, who is 2 years older than me, was my grandfather. He was always a man of science and didn't put his faith in anything that couldn't be proven with it. Don't get me wrong, he has a sense of humor and he's got alot of life under his belt. He's just grown into a pretty isolated guy. He's the first to leave a family gathering to go down to the basement and play video games, and he rarely makes it easy to communicate with him unless you are talking about something he is interested in. And let's not hope you have different opinions, or you'll get the short and snappy retort of a man convinced he's tried it all and his way is the way it is.

He is pretty intellegent, though. I guess that comment is based on my own knowledge, so he may just be smarter than me, but that's how everything goes with humans... everything is relative to the storyteller.

He's the kind of guy who picks up a Quantum mechanics book at the age of 60 just to see what it's all about. I do not have nearly that kind of dedication to the art of learning, but I respect it.

Anyway, one day a few months back, we had a discussion, albeit short, about astrology and his opinions on it. I was shot down almost immediatly by his adamancy about it not being based on fact. I buckled under his pressure and dropped the topic just as he wanted. DAMN ME!

Mother's Day was to be the day of my more calculated assult. I had been thinking of what he had said about astrology for a few months now and it was time to reiterate my opinion without letting him win. My mother had left early due to illness, so it was just me, Granny and Grandpa at the dinner table. Half way thru the meal, I looked up at him and started with my arguement, picking up on a 2 month old conversation out of no where.

"I was thinking about what you said about astrology, and I think you are misinformed."

A slight grin appeared on his face, knowing that I had been contemplating for months something so silly as that conversation. I went on to explain to him what I thought about his opinion, and he again came with a sternness hard not to obey. I fought with everything I had, though I wasn't really fighting for anything other than the right to vocalize my own opinion in his prescence. Astrology was definitely not the issue here.

To my amazement, after about 5 or so minutes of conversation, he started to understand that I was only wanting to have an honest and forthcoming conversation between two adults. I wasn't really trying to prove him wrong, but merely share my ideas on life in general. I was probably more inquisitive than anything. After that, it was smooth sailing. We went back and forth for about an hour or so, my grandmother listening to my left. She wasn't much part of the conversation, other than the initial "Van, you don't have to talk down to him" to aid me in my struggle for independence in the conversation.

He got this flare in him that I don't know if I had ever seen before. He started talking about the fundamentals of knowledge and understanding, and I was all ears. I ended up asking more questions than anything and he answered them as fundamentally as he possibly could.

The next day, I got a pro-bush email forwarded to me from him (he's one of those people who forwards me shit all the damn time!). It was definitely slanted and there were alot of facts used in irrelevant ways, and I replied to the email to let him know how I felt. I was careful not to bring personal attack into it, just stating the ill-use of the facts. His response was not at all what I expected.

He started off by saying how proud of me he was that I was using my mind and how he wished me the best in my journey for truth. He reccomended to me the writings of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Descaretes, Kant, and many others. The email was eloquent and passionate, something that usually didn't come out of him.

I think I tapped into something deep down in him. I now notice him being nicer to everyone around him. I think his flame just needed a little fuel, and my inquisitiveness was all it took. Good!