Good Morning Grandpa. I’m sitting at your kitchen table eating a peanut butter covered english muffin as the snow gently blankets your naked Japanese Magnolia tree, the three droopy red barns in the back, the pond and your frozen compost pile. I wonder how many mornings of your long life you did this exact ritual at this very table. . . It’s so quiet here with the snowfall. So beautiful. I can hear myself think and these days that’s a rare and magical occasion.
Last night, Monica prepared a beautiful shrimp scampi primavera with homemade pasta. She is a great cook. You’d be so proud of her whisking around the kitchen. I helped a little with the pasta, but mostly admired her culinary dancing. The boys tried on some of your clothing while we sipped on wine. They looked so dapper! You were so stylish! I guess you had to be to keep up with Grandma. . . We shared stories about you while sitting around the kitchen table. Your octagonal table with the rolling chairs. Your chair still has the cushion on it with the cover that grandma knitted.
Monica and I traded stories about which of your sandwiches were our favorite. Hers was the tomato and cheese, mine was the cold cut, tomato and peanut butter on pumpernickel. Chad gloated about the pizza tour of North Kingstown that you gave him a couple of summers ago and John told us all about the card games you guys played.
I’ve been sleeping in your room. It’s cozy and the radiator squeaks and whistles and hums through the night. The view out the window of the backyard is lovely. I bet you were so proud to gaze upon that expansive yard in the mornings. It’s a beautiful sight. I remember the last time we visited, we were out back and I walked around some of the yard with you. You were having so much trouble walking and you were upset that Diane wouldn’t let you cultivate a garden that spring. You were a legendary gardener. We talked about your garden and the size of the squash and the flavor of the tomatoes that you grew.
You sat me down and made a case for matrimony and I told you you would be the first invited if I ever got married. I held your hand and listened as you described why you loved being married to Grandma all those years. You guys were a pair. Donning affection and arguing with equal passion and volume. You told me how sad you were that my parents divorced and how you were worried about my dad. At the time, you guys were still not getting along. I know he loved you and Grandma, but you guys were always so critical and righteous and crazy when it came to him. You guys constantly butted heads. I held his hand at your funeral. You, he and I haven’t spent time together since I was a little girl. He had no idea that you and I were close. I think it made him so happy to know that you and I were close all those years he felt he had to keep his distance from you guys. At the funeral, dad kept saying to me with awe in his eyes “You really loved the old guy didn’t you?” Of course I did. And I had no idea how much I would miss you and Grandma and your stories and lectures. No Idea.
I had a dream the other morning, just before waking that I want to share with you. I was in a small boat at night on the Hudson River that traveled from island to island and around Manhattan. In the boat was a beautiful woman. When she spoke to me, she engaged me with such genuine passion and she had a special way of holding my hands and gently rubbing them as we spoke. I was utterly moved by her presence and how intently she delivered her message and how well she listened with her ears, heart and hands. I wanted to become her.
When I told Chad about the dream, he reminded me that Grandma did the same thing when she engaged a person. She held their hands and spoke to them with open honest eyes and spoke the truth as she saw it. I guess that you guys are still here watching over the house and maybe even over us.
I hope you liked the house concert we performed in your living room. There was so much life in the house that night. Monica has done such a great job bringing sanctuary and order into the rooms. She’s doing really well. You’d be so proud of her. We miss you and Grandma. I’m sorry I wasn’t around more. I love you.