Today in our book club we got onto the topic of grandfathers. I reviewed a book called “My Grandfather’s Blessings” by Dr. Rachel Remen. Wonderful read and highly recommended. I might lose some butch points by admitting this but my eyes leaked a bit with some of her stories. Anyway. . .grandfathers, that’s what we started discussing.
I heard some beautiful stories. Someone remembered siting on their grandfather’s lap while riding in the truck while he let them steer. Another book club member shared with the group her grandfather’s garden and how even at a young age she knew how much that garden meant to him and the pride he took in the vegetables he grew. They spent many summer afternoons together digging in the dirt and tending to the plants.
These were just a couple of stories shared with the club. All the story tellers had one thing in common; each one beamed as they recalled their memories. Each senior woman smiled and laughed like a little girl. You could tell they were transported back in time as they continued to describe their time spent with that special man in their life.
As if on cue, I was asked about my favorite memories of my grandfathers. I paused for a few seconds and then I realized I didn’t have any. My maternal grandfather committed suicide when my mother was sixteen so there was no chance of me meeting him. My paternal grandfather passed away when I was four. I remember things surrounded my grandfather. The trips to the hospital and being made to stay in the waiting room because I was too young to visit him. That’s the type of things I remember about him, with the exception of one memory, that’s it, one. I was 3 1/2. My grandfather fell asleep in his chair in the living room while my family visited. I knew he was ticklish and so I went up to him and tickled his left foot. The next thing I remember, I was laying on my back several feet from him. I was stunned. Apparently not only did I tickle but I startled him as well and he unintentionally kicked me several feet away from him. I wasn’t hurt, just shocked.
I also knew he referred to my sister and I as “his girls.” I like to think had he lived a few more years that he would have taught me lots of great things. Maybe that’s why I’ve never been fishing in my life because I didn’t have a grandfather around to take me. I also like to believe he would have imparted on me some grand wisdom so I would be a little wiser. I know I’m still learning things from my grandmother and she passed away almost twelve years ago. I wish I had that from him.
I don’t feel sorry for myself even though it may sound like it here. I lived a type of childhood that we as adults wish every child could experience. And it had absolutely nothing to do with money. . .basically because we didn’t have any. It had everything to do with a loving and safe home.
Their absence may explain in an odd sort of way why old men adore me. Maybe I am drawn to the grandfatherly sort. I don’t know but put me in any bar around the world and the retired men and I will hit it off, it doesn’t even matter if they speak English. And yes, it’s happened more than once.