Costa Rica Introspection

Blame It On the Bacon

My grandpa loves bacon. However, recently he had an ulcer and the doctors gave us a list of foods for him to avoid. Which included bacon. Every day at breakfast, he would look at his plate, look up at us, and ask, “Bacon?”

Each day he was denied his favorite breakfast meat. At some point, we told him we would go buy some bacon. I think we had hoped his dementia might cause him to forget about bacon until the next day. However any morning he went without, we were heckled by him saying that if he were able to drive, he would have obtained the bacon already. Due to dementia, he often forgets which meal we were at, and thinking it was breakfast, asked why we didn’t have the bacon yet. Soon he was giving us the business three times a day about missing bacon.

My grandparents live in a remote part of Costa Rica and there is not a store close by that carries bacon. Apparently, you have to drive a few towns over to Pricemart (it is Costco rebranded for Costa Rica) and they have bacon.

Once we brought home the bacon (see what I did there), we asked grandpa how many pieces he thought he could eat. With all sincerity, he replied, “A hundred.”

And since Pricemart bacon runs are few and far between and bacon is more expensive in Costa Rica, we decided to ration the bacon and save it only for grandpa.

The next morning, he was given two slices of bacon and ate the first one and struggled to eat the second. Jaap, the volunteer staying with my grandparents, said, “Only 98 more to go.”

A few days later at breakfast, Jaap went to clear some plates from the table. As soon as he was out of viewing range (but not earshot) my grandpa asked, “Is he Jewish?”

My grandpa has a booming voice and with his loss of hearing, I have to speak in my almost-yelling voice to get him to understand me. I replied, “Yeah grandpa, I think he might be Jewish.” Jaap, the poster boy for Caucasians, with blond hair and blue eyes, only 10 feet away let out a laugh. 

A few mornings later, we ate our breakfast, and my son who constantly tells the staff and my grandma he doesn’t eat meat was given two slices of bacon which he later gave to me. Jaap was given sausage but my Grandpa, the super sleuth, must not have picked up on it.

While breakfast was nearing its end, my Grandpa said to Jaap, “I want to ask you a question.” Jaap agrees and it was almost like a movie where you know what will happen next, cue Grandpa, “Are you Jewish?”

I wish I had popcorn. It was comical, intense, inappropriate, pure Grandpa.

Jaap denied his Jewish ancestry and Grandpa went on to explain, “I ask because you didn’t eat your ham.” We did have ham on Christmas Eve and leftovers on Christmas day which Jaap ate both times so I can only think Grandpa meant the bacon and got confused.

Later Jaap asks, “What if I had been Jewish? What would he have done?” 

The sad answer was, make things extremely uncomfortable for a guest that was staying under his roof. To try to convert him by pointing out the errors of his belief system.

Many years ago, Grandpa had a bible study/church service he weaponized and singled out someone in the congregation of usually four to six people to have the bible point out the error of their ways. Once, there was a girl who came to help at the lodge. Her stepfather was Jewish and she had gone to Temple occasionally. When Grandpa had heard that he prepared a sermon aimed at her. He was extremely disappointed on Sunday when he found out she wasn’t going to attend. My thought was she just dodged a bullet.

My grandpa told me that he has enemies, besides Tiger Sharks, and they were those that hate God. But not to love God the way he does and with the same fervor is tantamount to hating Him.

To paraphrase Gandhi, I love this Christ, not crazy about these Christians.

I write about my Grandpa not to make fun of him, but to learn from him. Today’s lesson is that when I look inside myself and realize that the beliefs I have are best not pushed on other people unwillingly.

By Sam Watson

I'm pretty good at Microsoft Excel but a freak in Google Sheets.

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2 years ago

Your Grandpa has it right regarding bacon the end all be all of breakfast meats! I enjoyed this little nugget into your grandpa’s personality.

Admiral Ackbar
2 years ago

Love the sin hate the sinner, am I right?

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