The Movie ‘Nebraska’ and My Grandfather

Old age brings a host of indignities. Among other hazards of aging, once sound minds veer into strange alleyways.

My grandfather thought he’d won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. It was the talk of our family for a short while. He had received those mailings, those notifications, the ones so cleverly worded that you momentarily wonder about never having to work again, and paying off your house, and traveling to exotic locales halfway around the world.

NebraskaBut only for a moment.

That is, unless you’re my grandfather, age early nineties, and others like him with minds that were still in working order but that sometimes lost touch with reality. Grandpa was a grand-prize winner. The check was in the mail. It would arrive any day. Or Ed McMahon was going to knock on the front door. He was absolutely certain. Telling him anything different just made him angry.

I was reminded of my grandfather when I learned about the movie “Nebraska” starring Bruce Dern. The new film has received some excellent reviews.

Here’s a description:

“After receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father thinks he’s struck it rich, and wrangles his son into taking a road trip to claim the fortune. Shot in black and white across four states, Nebraska tells the stories of family life in the heartland of America.”

I’ve been to 47 states, but I’ve never been to Nebraska, which seems odd since it’s smack dab in middle America. Yet I do consider myself a heartlander, if there is such a term, born and raised in the Midwest. And I’m a sucker for family stories.

I hope to see the movie “Nebraska” soon.

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