Monday, April 13, 2015

For My Grandfather

Teaching us to tell time by the ring of the church bells
Milk shakes at Minnie’s and ice cream cups at the VFW
Road Runner, Wild Kingdom, Wheel of Fortune and peanuts in the glass dish
The smell of K-1 in the shed and tires in the warehouse
Rainy afternoons on the porch and the Red Sox on the radio
Weekends at Camp and red hot dogs over wood fires
Hours and hours teaching me to tie my own shoes
Telling me swimming lessons would help later in life
Teaching us to row the tin boat and paddle a canoe
Those rocket sleds you gave Georgia and I at Christmas and the rides we had
Showing me where the perch were and how to handle a pickerel
Sharing Dairy-Joy with Pepper in the backseat of that old green car
Discussing who was most underrated; Remy or Burleson
Being there for concerts, races and collecting coins
Paddling the canoe beside me on training swims and saying
“Aren’t you glad you took those swimming lessons now?”
High school and college graduations saying you knew I could do it
Asking to see my badge and gun and putting on my shoulder rig
All quickly done when my mother left the room
Listening to your stories of service at sea and what war really means
Your silent worrying while I was on the street and in the shadows
Late night calls to Mom to make sure I got off the mountain or the water
Explaining to you why baitfish flies don’t look like “flies”
Your words after my first article was published
Watching you hold my daughter for the very first time
Seeing you with her when we visit
Listening to you tell her things you told me
And this past Christmas with the whole family there
Making jokes like you always have and the joy in your eyes
Of having your life in one room, all together…one last time

Much of my life has been spent far away
And though I’ve been gone in my own way I’m still there
For what you gave made me strong and guides me well 
Your words and wisdom from where I began
Shall not be forgotten as I continue on toward the sun

Rest now Grampa and watch from above until that day

I’ll see you on the other side

13 April 2015
North River, MA