Thursday, October 05, 2006
Tribute to My Grandfather
I read a posting by Lynn on her blog Adornments by Lynn on which she wrote in part, "...memories of my own wonderful grandfather came rushing back.... sitting on his porch swing at night to hear the tree frogs and crickets and the tree leaves rustling in the breeze." And memories of MY OWN wonderful grandfather came rushing back too because I did the same thing with my grandfather.
I've never written a tribute to my grandfather before, so I thought why not now? Why not on this blog because this blog is dedicated to the Art of Living and Dying? Where would I find a more perfect venue for writing about the life and death of my own grandfather? Mahalo Nui Loa Lynn for being my muse in this regard.
Memories of departed beloveds are varied, but for my grandfather, I have ONLY pleasant, loving memories. I will share some of mine with you. Maybe they will trigger some memories of your own grandfather as Lynn's memories did for me.
First of all, his name was William. He loved his ancient family Bible, and in this Bible, there were names of ancestors that came before him....going way, way back. This Bible had been brought over with the immigrants from England when they came to America, and he was the inheritor of this family treasure. He loved this Bible, and he would sit in his old rocking chair and read it every day. It was from him that I learned how to get an answer to a question about life. Just open the Bible randomly and read whatever passage your eye lands on. I don't know if he inherited this means of divination from his ancestors or if he just did it on his own for I never asked him. When you are a child, you accept so many things just because they are.
William loved to bake oatmeal cookies for us, his grandchildren, and he made the best, goo-iest oatmeal cookies in the world. I always wanted one when they were steaming out of the oven and still forming---before they got hard. That was when they were the best, and he would allow me to have one, even though it might be very hot and burn my fingers. This is one of the great things I remember about him: he was very allowing, not so strict as my Mother, and he had such a soft, nurturing quality to him.
Perhaps he had developed this nurturing quality through the many years my Grandmother had been bedridden with Parkinson's Disease, and he was the one to tend to her. No one else could lift her heavy body to move it from side to side, and so it was him who took care of her the many long years she was bedridden before crossing over. He loved her so very much. I can still remember how gently and carefully he would lift her to make her comfortable on her other side and plump the pillows around her just so. She was the love of his life, the Mother of his seven children and a great deal younger than him--nearly twenty. Or was it thirty? I guess I'll never know as my Mother never wanted to speak much about him after his passing, and I don't know who inherited the Bible or the famous rocker although I remember that there was a great battle for both amongst my Mother's relatives.
William was loving and kind to me, and as a farmer and an earthy man, he introduced me to his world: milking cows (for which he had a bum knee from being kicked once by a cow), gathering eggs from the chicken coop, listening to the sounds coming from seashells when they were put to the ear, seeding the ground and harvesting. Most of all, I loved to swing with him on his front porch swing...snuggled in his arms and listening to the sounds of Nature made my young life bearable. Mahalo Nui Loa Grandfather for the memories!