Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Mud On The Hill, The Water In The Well.

I was inspired to write today while reading assorted pieces of work that a few of my friends have written. I haven't yet sat down to write anything, and I am almost compelled to write a short shpeel right now, but I don't know if many of you would like that. For now I will write about my day and if I am to stumble on to some fiction-esc styles, then that will be it.
Today I went to outreach after I helped set up for my Grandfathers 90th birthday party. We had family from all over drive in to celebrate. I was only able to stay for about fifteen minutes after my Gramps arrived. He sure was suprised. He shuffled in holding onto his walker and looked up, eyes wide and pale from shock, as we non-concurrently yelled "surprise". He sat down and hugged his way through family members, shaking hands with distant relatives and a few distant grandchildren who barely knew his name. He made jokes and talked about women, as he usually does. He smiled as we followed his every word. The years show on him, through his wrinkles and bended fingers. His laugh has turned into a bark, and his voice hangs in a husk. Even through his Americanized words you can hear his German accent. It's hard to catch, and comes faint like a butterflies flap but when listening for it, you can find it. He smells of cigarette smoke, sometimes cherry, sometimes chocolate, but no matter the flavor the room is thick with it. When you hug him you can hear the buzzing of his hearing-aid and it feels as if your brain waves are crashing into his like a fighting ocean. He smiles wide like the suspenders draping over his shoulder. I don't remember anytime in my life where he didn't have a cain with him, wooden and rounded at the top. When he's sitting at the old worm table that him and my Grandmother had since forever, he would look down at the surface and run his fingers over the wood wiping away dust that wasn't there, or the ashes that were. His eyes look sad, grey and deep. They were probably once a bright blue, but the years have drained them of their color. His baseball cap sits loosly on his head; I have only seen him without it maybe twice in my entire life. His shoes are brown and heavy, and his coffee cup is stained with years of spilled caffeine. My Grandfather's bird Buddy, squeals sharp and is consistantly heard in the back ground; maybe just to make himself known in the room full of talking people. His green feathers drap down low and red trickles through his tail. He is older than I, and my siblings as well who are fourteen years grander than me. When I begin to think about my Grandfather when he still lived on the hill, in a house hidden in the mountains behind our little town, I cannot help but think of my Grandmother. She was something else. Loud and crazy, a character in the least. When ever company walked through the screen door she would spring to life, telling stories about way back when or the adventure she had just yesturday going to the market. Mud laced our shoes and the rims of her wheelchair. You could tell where she had been based on the marks covering the floor. It was a small dirty place, bugs and dust filled every crevice, and the garden was far overgrown when we finally sold it, but just a few years before, it was something beautiful (still dirty, but beautiful). I do remember her standing in the garden, probably shooing the geese from out of her way. Clothes and draperies hung on the wire lines that ran over the garden, and humingbird feeders lined the walls outside the house. Chicken ran amuck just over the fence leading to the coop that us kids would get eggs from. I know every child down through my nieces and nephew who are now 5 and 9 went out and collected eggs. I do remember collecting eggs with my Grandfather, and my Grandmother shortly before she was wheelchair stricken. All the water that went through the house was from a well that sat a little further up the hill; the water never being clear, but tasted sweet. My Grandmothers laugh, high like mine, mixed in the air like sour and sweet. I've been told I look like her, and have been told even more so that I act like her. She'd throw out her opinions regaurdless of who was in the room or not. She was like the fire on the logs that burned in the furnice, bright and strong, always hot to the touch. She was the thing that held our family together and the thing that sometimes tore us apart, but we would always come back to her, never staying away too long. I pray that I will never forget her, that I will never forget the days sitting on the hill, rain spitting on the windows, smelling chocolate smoke, laughing with my grandparents. They are the past, present, and furture of all of us; may I never omit that from my mind.
-Toby K.

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