I see and hear throughout dinner, how my father so desperately wants to impress my grandfather, wants to be applauded by him, recognized, seen. My father bulldozes in with his own stories. About having met and become friends with Joe Pesci (the relationship between Pesci and my father has grown and become considerably more intimate since his earlier telling of the story to me), about winning big at the track a few weeks ago, about his 8 and 0 record as an amateur boxer. My father vacillates between recent past, distant past, and present, in crafting a small legacy to which my grandfather can respond with praise or compliments. This doesn’t happen. My grandfather either says nothing or somehow maneuvers the topic back to himself. In some ways it is painful to listen to these exchanges. No, not painful exactly, squeamish. Listening to my father and grandfather talk without really communicating, without ever seeing or hearing each other, without ever meeting as human beings, made me feel squeamish. And sad. And I knew the same was true for my father and me. A sad chain of fathers and sons, not hearing each other, not seeing each other, relations bereft of anything even remotely resembling intimacy. I was my father’s father as much as I was my father’s son. All of it relative in a broad, orchestral sense.