Wednesday, April 17, 2013

One More Ode to a Good Grandpa

I visited my grandparents home on Thursday as planned, to be greeted by my sister, who told me my grandpa had passed less than an hour before.  It was hard to say that last goodbye, but it was also good to see him at peace.  His face, at rest, made all sorts of thoughts go through my mind.  One is that his face is so familiar to me-- one of the earliest faces ingrained on my memory, one that has been to birthdays and baptisms and special days, given hugs to my little girl self and my grown up self and welcomed my children.

Just a month before his passing, I walked into my grandparent's garage all  alone. Even though they live in a different home than they did when I was growing up, the smell of their garage smelled just like it did when I was a little girl.  It brought back some potent memories.  I calmed my usual rushing self and just stood there in their garage and took in the smell and let myself reminisce about happy cousin days and sleepovers and my grandma's strawberry jam.  I let it soak in.  I knew I wouldn't be able to keep my grandparents around forever, but for now I just wanted to remember.  Little did I know that a month later I would be saying goodbye.  Before he passed I wrote down a very rudimentary collection of words to help me remember, since I won't always have their garage to smell.  :)   As you'll notice, many of the memories aren't directly related to him, but it was his was an abiding presence that helped make them possible. It's not very refined, but here goes:


Old green truck
In a clean-swept
Musty garage.
Brown tweed chair
an old-fashioned Doris Day movie.
Knee-high grass
Crunching beneath our feet
As a dark,
Robust younger you
Called sheep--
They're running to you,
Skitting from me (darn).
Red brick
Roundabouts on cousin Sundays,
Fabled ditches,
Banana-colored longboards
And red,
Ranged in a line
Raced on rear ends
Over click-cracks
Under a tipsy
Orange moon.
Cushy additions,
Jennie's mystical
Orange-lighted room
Complete with organ.
Sleepy movies,
Jam on toast in
Red strawberry
Vinyl chairs,
Juice in tiny
Clinking glasses
Poured shallow with little
Ball games.
Big(ger) family.
Long-forged rolls.
Cherry pies,
Busy family coming and going.
Delighted hugs.
Smith smiles.
Sad goodbyes.
Driving directions.
Carrying my little ones
With pride and happy
Whooshes across a new
Family baptisms.
Corralling the greats now.

Popcorn at a brown bar,
Cousins abounding,
The smell of
Yellow scrapbooks,
Grandma's house.
Grandpa's too.
In his big chair,
But inside--
Someone thinking, measuring,


No more hunting,
no more sheep.
Children gone.
A longing for home
Shines back from the
Resided chair.
It's time to let you go
Your knees and your sheep will thank you.
So will hungry mother's arms, ever waiting.
But we're lingering,
Not knowing what to say,
Just that we'll
Miss the long-gone days of
The musty garage,
the movies,
Even the snoring.
I look at your peaceful face
And remember how
You wrapped me in
Grandpa arms,
Happy to see this little girl.
You go now,
And wait for me there,
Till I've done what I came here
To do.
Then you can catch me in your arms
Like old days.
Get your sheep ready--
Maybe we can finally make
Them like me.

FYI- I added some photos on to the last post.  See you tomorrow!  


  1. This brought back a lot of memories. Thanks. Miss him already.

  2. My grandma introduced me to Doris Day too! And that old 50's music that is still my favorite. I like to remember they're still part of me in so many ways.

    And homemade strawberry jam reminds me of you, dear friend.