Friday, February 22, 2008

Pop-Pop...


when i need to go to town, i go out of my way to drive past your farm..... even though it is not 'on the way'. as i crest the hill, i look down into the valley, and see the yellow farmhouse sitting there with smoke coming out of the chimney, and i imagine you as a boy, running through the yard, playing in the creek.

since you died when i was young, this is my living diary of your life... being able to walk the hills where you walked..... this is how i am coming to know you.... this is how i cling to you.

i have pictures of you asleep on our couch, with me curled up on your chest. my parents always told me how proud you were of me and my sisters.... how much you adored us. i remember you taking me to Druthers when i would visit, for your morning coffee with all the other retirees. we both would order biscuits and gravy, our shared favorite.... and you would brag of all my accomplishments to your friends. i remember proudly sitting by your side, driving around town, in your blue pick-up truck.

sometimes i get out the cards i made for you while you were in the hospital, dying from a disease you should never have had. i don't remember making them, but my mom saved them. i hope my scribbly handwriting and rainbows cheered you a little... or was it a bittersweet offering, reminding you what you had to leave behind? i didn't get to go to your funeral.... my parents thought i was too young, and your neighbor babysat me. she tried to comfort me by giving me kool-aid, and candy.... and she answered all my 7 year old questions about where you were going as best she could.

now that i am in your homeland, i see your eyes everywhere i go.... they are my eyes, too.... the most distinct physical feature that i inherited from you. and i tell my memories of you to my son, as we drive past your homeplace.... and when we frolic in the creek by your brother's house. i tell him, "this is where your great-grandfather played.... this is the house he helped build with his own hands..... he would have adored you". and i watch the grin come over my son's face as he hears those words.... and i know you are still here with me because of it.

19 comments:

photowannabe said...

Beautiful memories and tender thought of your Pop Pop. I never really knew my grandparents since they lived in Minnesota and we lived in California.
Sharing your History with your son is so important, even when he may not be interested right now. Those vinettes are planted inside of him and will never be lost.
Thanks for a peek into your life.

TwoSquareMeals said...

What a beautiful post! My dad died a year and a half ago, and we talk about PopPop to the boys all the time. Calvin still remembers him and talks about him often. My father deeply identified with his mountain home, and my memories of him are so rooted in the places around our hometown. Every time we go "home," I try to instill that sense of place and memory and identity into my boys, telling them stories of PopPop and my great-Grandmother and others who have passed. I think this is a gift mountain people have, this long memory that gives us a sense of identity.

bluemountainmama said...

so sorry to hear about your dad passing recently, 2 square.... yes, mountain people do identify themselves so much with the land. your boys will be blessed to share in that inheritance thorough your memories and stories.

fishing guy said...

What a wonderful story of your grandfather. I remember the time I spent with my grandfather and hold in close to me. Thanks for your memory.

:..Rebekah..: said...

Oh, how beautiful. What lovely words and memories, and you've strung the thoughts and feelings of your heart together in such a gentle way.

Lindah said...

A sweet post. You have such a way with words. Beautiful memories. It's good that you are sharing them with your son. Good that he can play in that creek, can see the yellow farmhouse. Feel the connection to his roots. Good.

June said...

What a lovely tribute.

Kerri said...

What a Beautiful tribute to your Pop Pop!

Christianne said...

oh my goodness, blue, this post was so beautiful. i loved the part about you saying this is your living diary of is life, how this is how you're coming to know him, how this is how you cling to him.

so much precious tenderness here. all the stories, and especially your insight on those stories and the way you live now to remember him through where you live. thank you for sharing this part of your heart with us.

Sara said...

This is beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes.

I also saw your post below and have made a note to look for L.L. Barkat's works. Sounds like just what I love; it's always wonderful to find an author who is new to me.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and for your comment.

Sara

kirsten said...

blue,
such a beautiful remembrance of your grandfather, even if its sketchy in its remembering, even if your memory-making is currently in its creating as you walk through, drive past, and imagine. use your own eyes.

these last lines gripped me:
"and i tell my memories of you to my son, as we drive past your homeplace.... and when we frolic in the creek by your brother's house. i tell him, "this is where your great-grandfather played.... this is the house he helped build with his own hands..... he would have adored you". and i watch the grin come over my son's face as he hears those words.... and i know you are still here with me because of it."

so beautiful.

wishing you peace & sunshine today,
*k

Moi said...

a beautiful tribute, Blue..........and i love the picture too....i can imagine you there, in those settings......have a beautiful sunday :)

rebecca said...

Beautiful!

I never knew my Grandfather. He died when my Dad was only 3 years old. He was 25 and was in the Korean war. My Mom has been doing geneological research and I've found out that he has relatives all over the place! Sometimes, as I walk around, I'll see someone who looks like the only picture we have of him and wonder if that person could be a relative.

Your post made me think about him. :) It's neat how we are related to places as much as we are to people.

Anonymous said...

How beautiful. Achingly beautiful. I had no idea your family was from the area where you now live. How blessed you are to be able to share it with your son and to vividly re-live those memories. I actually cried as I read your words. Makes me want to drive up to Murray and visit my grandparents! With love - Emily

L.L. Barkat said...

And I hear in this your longing to save this place. Deep and urgent.

colleen said...

I believe when someone dies a part of us goes with them and a part of them remains to live in us. At least that is how I have experienced it. We ARE of each other. This was very touching.

colleen said...

Just figure out the PoP Pop. I was reading it as a sound!

Granny Sue said...

There is an African story called the Cowtail Switch. In the story a man is killed by lions. His young son kept asking where is father was, and telling people of the things his father did. Finally the people brought the man's bones to the son to prove he was dead. But the bones reformed into a man, and the father was living again. It was his son's remembering him and talking about him that gave the father life again.

So it is with your grandfather. No one is truly gone while their name is still spoken and remembered. You keep your grandfather alive with your words. You are blessing your children with his memory. He still lives for them and for you.
And now he lives for me too, and anyone who reads your post. Lovely, just lovely.

Anonymous said...

Beyond beautiful stream of human emotion and memory. I will do the same thing with my boys and their ancestors and be more aware of how common is the desire to connect. Jim