So this one time when I was, I don't know, maybe 8 or 9 (honestly, maybe older), I asked my grandfather, whom I knew had been in "the war", which side he fought for. You know, the North or the South. I'm thinking it didn't go over particularly well. He walked away without saying a word.
I'm not sure if he was offended as apparently I thought he was so old. Or saddened by the lack of education occurring in the public school system. Or unable to believe that my math skills were so horrible (you know, being able to figure out that since the Civil War was in 1864, and it was now, say 1987, and I couldn't figure out that, uh, no, he couldn't have fought in the Civil War. To be fair, my math skills probably were that bad). Or just amused as all get out, and wanted to spare my feelings by not laughing his @ss off in my face. I'm not sure. But I just stood there perplexed, wondering why in the world he'd just walked off, leaving my question unanswered.
By the time I realized my blunder, I was into the feeling embarrassed about everything phase. And then about the time I moved out of that, he passed away. So I never took the opportunity to talk to him about his reaction.
You know that saying about paybacks? Yes, well I got mine this week. Hubby, the boys and I were sitting at dinner, having the normal dinner-time conversation - "how was your day?", "what's something fun that happened today?", "here's the crazy stuff I saw today.", "did anything sad happen to you today?". That kind of stuff.
When, out of the blue, the kid threw in an unexpected question. Directed right at me. "Hey, Momma, did you live in the North or the South when the Civil War was happening?". Hubby, of course, you know, since the question wasn't directed at him, started laughing hysterically. I smiled, amused, and clarified that I, in fact, was not quite that old. He replied, "huh. I thought you were".
I have to believe that Grandad was laughing his @ss off, where ever he is. And I have to believe that he mostly was amused with my question, with a bit of perplexion, ("do I look that old?!"). But mostly amused.
Today's Lesson: Sometimes paybacks are not so bad.