Tag Archives: grampa

We Sold Their Lives Today


We sold their lives today.

Sixty years of collecting,

lying there like so much rubbish,

just waiting for someone to make an offer.

Selling memories is heartbreaking business.

First it was two for a dollar,

then six for a quarter,

and finally,

ten for a penny.

I waded through

too many

salvaged coffee cans, flower pots, and garden tools.

Shame on you, Grampa.

We all thought Gramma was the pack-rat.

Everything is half off.

I watched her struggle to maintain composure

when the offers were low;

she wanted to hold on to that tiller-

the one he used for so many years.

I wanted to scream “NO!” for her

when she sighed consent

and hung her head,

too weary and old to

argue again.

So many times she heard it-

“Do you want to keep this?”

“Take it,”

was always her reply.

What she meant was,

“Take it, because I have to

know my memories are being held

onto by those I love.”

We hauled them away by carloads, their belongings.

Some were worth much;

others just worth the idea,

“This was Grampa’s.”

or

“This was Grandma’s.”

Now they’ve become our memories.

Memories of the time when

we couldn’t

make time wait,

and our hands were useless to

stop life.

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For Grampa


I noticed the sky this morning,

the morning you left us.

It was beautiful;

rose-colored and coral.

I thought of the old saying-

you know the one-

Red sky at morning,

sailors take warning.

And I started to cry.

It wasn’t warning sailors,

and I knew it.

It was warning us,

all of us that are left

that the world would be a little bit darker soon,

because you were going Home.

I knew;

that was why I held your hand maybe a little bit too tight

right before I had to go.

I figured it might have hurt,

but I knew you wouldn’t mind.

You would have done the same

if you’d been able to.

Now I have to figure out

how exactly my little boy is going to

grow up knowing just what a great man you were.

He’ll only see pictures of you,

the ones that prove me right-

that you were the best-dressed man that ever lived,

and so handsome.

(More handsome than all your brothers. Shhh.)

When he grows up,

he won’t get to remember what it was like

to wander through your garden with you,

admiring the stunning array of flowers

you and Gramma worked so hard on.

My son will never watch

Gramma, with the most tender of touch,

comb back the glorious strands of white and grey

from your forehead.

You know, I didn’t mind it a bit

when you missed a haircut or two.

There are far too many balding older men in the world.

It always seemed a shame to clip

the admirable abundance of hair you retained.

I’ll tell you a secret now.

Don’t be mad.

I always hated your favorite hymn.

In the Garden was never quite grandiose enough for me.

But you know I’ll play it for you anyway,

when it’s time to say goodbye.

The words, I really don’t mind, though.

And when I am digging in my own dirt,

I’ll sing them to myself

and think of you.

“I come to the garden alone,

when the dew is still on the roses…”

I maintain my opinion that

Crystal Gayle was always prettier than Loretta Lynn.

I keep saying it,

hoping you’ll come back and argue with me.

Loretta never knew what she was missing,

but all the rest of us will,

until we see you later.

 

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