Memories are an interesting thing. They come back to you when you least expect them. Sometimes something you haven’t thought about in years can appear in your mind with a picture so clear that you’d think it had just happened. Could that be what Memories, light the corners of my mind means in “The Way We Were”?
As his life winds toward an end I'm struck by the fact that I knew him even when I couldn't see his face. I've take for granted that he is present in my life even when I'm here and he's there. I never reach out enough, but I love him.
One of my first and fondest memories of you is when we lived in the
trailer and you came over for Halloween with a brown paper bag over
your head. I knew it was you because of your work boots. Everybody
laughed. We should have known then that I had a gift for comedy and
making people laugh.
All my life you have been on my side and made sure I knew I was
welcome in your house and loved--always. I appreciate that you and
Grandmother always listened to me when I was having problems with Dad.
You are a wonderful grandfather. I love you and I am truly blessed
that you are part of my life.
I am very happy that you have found happiness again in your own life. Happiness is so important.
You are surrounded by so much love in our family. It's the love you
have always given. It's the love I have always felt. To look for an
example of loving, compassion, and strength we only need to look at
I love you, Granddaddy. Thank you for all that you are.
Happy Father's Day!!
I’m the oldest grandchild. Seven-and-a-half years before the next one. There’s roughly the same distance between my mom’s youngest brother and me as there is between my sister and me. I’m the grandchild who's known him the longest. Then I think about how much I really don’t know about him. I’ve asked him questions about people in our family, but don’t know that I really ever asked him about his life. I think I was too intimidated to have a one-on-one conversation with him. Those are my own issues and nothing that came from him. But the fact remains that as the end nears I wish I knew what it had been like to work the projector at the Arlington movie theater, the Arly. I wish I knew when he knew he’d fallen in love with my grandmother and wanted to marry her. Sometimes I even wish I knew how it felt to become a grandfather under the circumstances in which he did. Maybe I will never know these answers, but I know that I love him and cherish what I do know.
My most recent visit home had us sitting down to a dinner of chili and cornbread one evening. There were also baked taco shells for those who might want to use the chili for a taco salad. Granddaddy wanted a hot dog. So there on his plate lying next to the bowl of chili was a plain hot dog, fresh from the boiling water. Another memory flashed across my mind. When my grandmother was still alive and they were both still working, Friday night had always been hot dog night. No one questioned it. It just was. My grandmother would cook the other nights of the week, but on Friday it was easy-breezy-boil-some-water-we’re-having-hot-dogs. So on that night of chili and fixin’s, my mother boiled that hot dog and my granddaddy treated it like the comfort food that it is.
Breathe deep, Granddaddy
Godspeed as this journey ends
And your next one begins
I will always smile, Granddaddy
Because one-eyed Jacks will always remove
And you’ll always be one step ahead
Try not to be too scared
And I’ll try not to be too sad
But until that journey's day
Our strength will be yours
My granddaddy (and grandmother for that matter) gave me money for no reason. He listened to me when I was having a conflict with my dad; he listened and gave constructive advice. He attended my high school and college graduations. He comes to see me every time I’m in Arlington for a visit. He still plays a mean game of Sequence and will do everything he can to kick your butt in Dominoes, you just have to make sure he plays on the right train now. He’s proud of me. I’m proud of him. I’m thankful for the kindness, understanding, and respect that I learned from watching him.