My grandfather was something of the town drunk. He would frequently be seen stumbling down the sidewalk along Main Street as he roved from bar to bar. My wife and I witnessed this at least once, one of the various times we went down to my hometown to visit my grandmother. I must say, it was a sorry sight indeed!
Going further back, I recall one night I was staying over at my grandparents' house and heard a ruckus coming from downstairs. Apparently, my grandfather had come home so drunk that he couldn't find his keys to unlock the backdoor. Undeterred by such a small detail, he broke in the backdoor window. My grandmother called the cops. When the police arrived, I was in bed, but wide awake. Even though I was in a room upstairs, I clearly heard my grandmother speaking to the policeman (acoustics were strange in that old house). Of course, my family thought I had slept through the whole thing, but that simply wasn't true. I heard a lot more that night than anyone ever realized. At least I can say things stayed relatively calm that night, which I can't say about other times I witnessed my grandfather in action.
Such rows were in no way restricted to ordinary days. Holidays could be pretty damned tense. Whenever the family gathered at my grandparents' house, the threat that a verbal altercation or even a physical brawl might erupt at any moment always hung over our heads. I recall at least one family gathering (Christmas Eve, perhaps?) during which my aunt and her boyfriend suddenly whisked me away on a trip to the store, ostensibly to pick up a necessary item, but more likely because my grandparents were gearing up for yet another of their infamous fights. Even though I was just a kid, I felt the tension in the air in that house that day, and knew something wasn't right.
If more proof is needed that my grandfather was a violent abusive drunk, there is the matter of his stint in county jail. Yes, my grandfather had spent time behind bars, for hitting a police office, nevertheless! One of those nights my grandmother actually called the police, my grandfather slugged the responding officer. Though I don't recall being there that night, I do seem to recall being with my grandmother when she either visited my grandfather in jail or picked him up after he got out of jail (most likely the latter). I was quite young at the time, but I do seem to recall visiting the jail for some reason. That's the sort of memory that sticks with a kid. It's certainly not the sort of memory a young child is likely to fabricate out of thin air.
Yep, my maternal grandfather was quite the upstanding citizen, NOT! Anyway, it's all just memories now (though I still carry psychological and emotional scars because of what I witnessed and what I experienced). My grandfather died in 2001, and good riddance to bad rubbish! If any of my relations have a problem with me saying such awful things about such an awful person, too bad! As far as I know, I was one of the few in that dysfunctional family to ever stand up to that abusive bastard, and I did so WHEN I WAS JUST AN EFFING KID! So, there!