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As I see it, no one remembers him, only the booze, the drunken swagger, and slow drawl that crept out from beneath his handle bar mustache. They remember him old, defeated, not so much more than a has been from a more than forgotten time.  Thing is, that time was our time.

We laughed together as kids maybe more than you ever will. That’s a fact I can’t prove but the words speak for themselves. Things got exciting when Grady came to the lake. We were young- there were a million boats to ride and hillsides to climb. Later on, when we got cool, there’d be booze, of course, but much more humor. Ideas would flow between us as my cousins, Robin and David, gazed with Grady and I at star light or the flickering flames of a fire that needed one more log. The heat from our fires back then was unreal, and it always dispelled any notion we might have had that good times could ever end, that things could ever change, and even be forgotten. Grady had the spark we’d  waited to see all day though few who are alive today could ever believe it, certainly never know it, or think that possible-he was a drunk. I suspect that’s what people will say, or think now.

Like my cousin Robin, or David, who bowed down to the power of booze, Grady was no different, but for his name, his life, and his spirit. Thing is, anyone who only reads the last chapters of a book and then claims to know what the entire story was about is wrong. Grady’s ending belies his life, a life attested to by so much that still stands today by our lake house,or, actually, inside it as well. His life stands inside my heart, too. You see, more than the painfully perfect rocks walls that Grady built along the road way to our camp, and those rock walls are a challenge to any who ever built one to try a do better, the dry wall of our camp loft and more were meticulously done by Grady. Forty-five years later, not a seam of tape is showing in those joints, and the fittings have always been perfect.

Grady, I owe you. Not just because my parents loved you so dearly, but because you gave so much when you could.

It gets down to this: I loved this guy. I loved hearing his unique voice, a raspy, deep woodmen’s sounding one, and the twinkle in his eye. When he spoke, people listened; and when he laughed the world did too. His rock walls at the lake will always be wonderful to see, a fond remembrance. Of course, only my cousin,Robin, may have drunk more, I don’t know. My cousin David may have taken a close third place. All are gone now. That is painful, but what really matters to me is that I will miss all three, and often hear their voices, their laughter, in the wind as it comes off the lake.

We had it all for a moment as we grew up together during our summer time spent at the lake camps-we were so young, and it was so much fun. Sunlight glimmered just for us.

Grady, I may be one of few who know how much you did for my parents, and for the beauty of the East Shore road up at Bonaparte. I may be one of the few left who remember you as a kid, with eyes shining bright and laughter so light. Thing is, I want you to know-I miss you already. You were honest, a friend during the years I wish I had back. I’d guess, most anyone who really knows you feels the same.

Goodbye Grady. I wish I could see you again. We’ll have to wait and see about that. We always wondered what would happen. Sometime, when I pass, we’ll know.

Franque23-
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It’s a big house, we have so many rooms.  They all seem full. Our daughter and family from South Africa will stay for many days, but never enough.  Added, we have more family visits-a montage of cousins, their parents and relatives happily shuffle in and out. Some days, I cook for thirteen, other days, just for  five.

rockin- around the Christmas tree...rooms full of crumpled wrapping paper, toys and people.

rockin- around the Christmas tree…rooms full of crumpled wrapping paper, toys and people.

Of course, the stay means more than just having numbers of special people in our house. My two daughters and their children light the moon and beyond with their glow. My ears hear their laughter and the children’s mischief-rocking, rolling, young ones banging against banisters and struggling to open outside doors we have locked for security.

The ruckus really starts outside. So many riders-rolling plastic look-a- like cars, peddle pushers and simple gliders-wheels roaring down our block of a hill as our grandchildren swift by while beaming smiles through their cheeks and eyes.

(I think if you log into FB you can watch this one minute clip.)

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10205477937698786&set=vb.1561249536&type=2&theater

There’s no sense of urgency; no bills to pay; no time to keep. Today is forever. For a brief moment, my daughter from Africa can share a face to face laugh with my daughter who lives a mere thirty minutes from our house. We can can make faces, laugh, and even touch one another.

There is a world full of sand to discover and mold in our hands!

There is a world full of sand to discover and mold in our hands!

Cousins  best teach one another how to slide through life!

Cousins best teach one another how to slide through life!

Heaven arrives in many unexpected ways.  Now, part of that light is gone. Our house, the halls and the rooms feel empty, maybe forgotten?

Our oldest daughter has left for Africa.

It's time to cross another bridge.....(Kelly and Hiro in Africa)

It’s time to cross another bridge…..(Kelly and Hiro in Africa-Swaziland , I believe.)

The company is gone, and my wife and I are back to two.  We sit tonight in such a house, full of empty halls and unused bedrooms.

It was a great Holiday for us.....

It was a great Holiday for us…..

Our home feels as empty as my work place a few days before the holidays.

Tonight our home feels as empty as my work place was a few days before the holidays.

The road doesn’t thunder with the sound of fun that should never stop. Life, or maybe the lack of it, is back. My wife and I sit together as two grandparents on a couch once more…waiting; loving; hoping; and praying for safe journeys.

Safe travels as our loved ones take off into the sunset or motor back home.*

Safe travels as our loved ones take off into the sunset or motor back home.*

Franque23

*This is Cassie Anderson’s first acrylic painting. She gifted me this painting. It depicts my cousin and I fishing in the sunset-a favorite pastime of ours.

here are links for both of my books in the Avatar Magic Series:
Book one, Avatar Magic and book two, The Code of Avatar Magic are on kindle now.

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