October 23, 2008

Distance in Time

It's that time of year again. Autumn calls for reflection... damn. This year it came all at once. Instead of the usual creeping menace, it pounced like a cat. There I was... minding my own business when I glanced over and looked at this bible sitting on the book shelf next to me. My father gave me this book many years ago, he handed it off with the story of its travels and historical meaning. My great uncle took this book with him when he was drafted into world war two, rather his mother gave it to him to take for protection. He went over seas on a boat, taking a few weeks to get there and was miserable for the entire trip. He read the bible for comfort, but not the actual books and verses. He told me that what he read were the hand written notes inside, put there by his mother and family members before her. Notes on specific passages they found to be inspirational, or the notices of births and deaths. I always wondered how there could be room for notes because its such a small book, only about three by five inches in size. The string holding it together was ripped from the mattress that he slept on during the cross over trip to England. My dad told me that he carried it with him during the D-day invasion, where he was wounded on a beach, from what I understand he was shot as he carrying another soldier to a make shift aid station.

His mother, Grannie Smith, had what were referred to as visions. Many stories have been told about her prowess at this. My favorite was the tale of my great uncles wounding. She had a vision that a one armed soldier came to their house and told her that he was dead, killed in action. My dad told me that they were all over there one evening and a taxi pulled up. The driver got out and had only one arm, he was wearing a uniform from the taxi company. Grannie Smith then had a fit, screaming, yelling that her son was dead. It took some time for them to get her calmed down. The driver had a telegram from the military and they were afraid to open it, knowing what it meant, yet dad told me that she was beside herself with joy when she found out that he was going to be ok. My cousin that cuts whats left of my hair has told me that there are several people in our family's history that had similar talents with supernatural things of this nature.. I wish I knew who....

As I pondered the origins and travels of the little book, I held it in my hands and thought about the losses of the past year, coupled with the new beginnings and paths that have played out. This year's holiday season promises to be a somber one, Christmas was dad's favorite time of the year.. He certainly had the knack for making the place look like a fifty percent off sale at big lots, I will miss that. That and the tree with so many lights you can actually hear it hum as you walk past... I was there once when they began to take it down and was baffled when the lights were removed... I had thought it was light green or even white in color, imagine my shock when it turned out to be a dark green beautiful tree.. The words he spoke last year have been haunting me for weeks, "I won't be with you next Christmas, I don't want you to forget that this has always been my favorite time of the year, and I want you to remember me when you turn your lights on every year from now on".

Just writing that down was tough, I don't even want to think of Christmas afternoon... I don't believe I will watch "A Christmas Story" this year..

Walking onto the porch and watching the approaching rain and wind through the trees added to the reflective mood as I shifted my thoughts to my grandparents and their crowded little house during the holidays, then to my uncles and aunts that have gone on, their laughter and smiles... Then to people I have known that have drifted away. Then onto people I know now and how I hold them in my heart.. I put the book in my pocket and strolled up the driveway, meandering as I smoked and thinking that I wished it would skip right over to spring...


Jules said...

Me too, wish it were spring that is. Fall is reflective but this seemingly early start to winter makes me feel a bit melancholy. Christmas is going to be a rough this year. Usually when the displays start going up I kind of get excited. I would see things and think "Oh, he would love this!". Now I don't really want to look to carefully. I'm afraid that I will end up in tears in the middle of the store. BUt in a way I'm glad he told us about the lights at Christmas. It is hard but it's also one more way I can hold him with me - keep him right there in my heart so I don't miss him so bad.

Anonymous said...

I love to look at old reminders of the past and reflect on them. You'll have a great Christmas. I'm sure your dad will see to it.

Eve said...

My heart will be with you this season. My sister passed away 4 years ago, at Thanksgiving. My mom now hates Thanksgiving, and only wants to remember it for the bad times; Sarah's death, the time when Sarah and I fought about the turkey and she smashed all my deviled eggs- that's a fond memory of mine,or when my other sister's dogs "attacked" my nephews, which didn't really go down that way, etc. Funny thing is, Mom want's to put Halloween in Thanksgiving's place. We've decorated more than ever for it.

LADY ROOTS said...

Idren Clay,

When your father crosses your mind, don't feel sad. Be elated that your memories of him are good. Too many of us have either no memories or ugly memories of our fathers.

You are so blessed to have known his love and to be able to give that love to your family.

Bless Up,
Lady Roots

HeartofGoldPlate said...

i love fall by your neck of the woods. less bugs.

i will miss grandaddy so much. it hurts extra to have to keep reminding myself he's gone. he really was a good man, you can tell by the kind of kids he raised.

Anonymous said...

This wonderful southern gentleman is in your heart and ALWAYS will be.You will always have him with you and if you would need a reminder all you have to do is look at your sons.....
He was a wonderful man and just knowing him makes a person a better human being.
I will mis the greetings he gave us when we would visit.
Memories are beautiful things even if some hurt us when we think of them.They show how much we loved and are loved!