TUESDAY: Grandpa

BY J. H. SOEDER

Copyright is held by the author.

IT WAS a great memory.

Grandpa held out the tattered family picture. He told me they didn’t have colour photos back then or even cameras that took black and white pictures. The picture I was looking at, he said as he carefully placed it in my hand, was taken by a man who held a big pile of something in one hand that flashed while the same man hid under a black cloth while he took their picture.

Grandpa said that when the flash went off he almost pee’d in his pants. He sort of smiled when he said that. I guess he never told that story to everyone. It was his way of making me feel special.

The straw hat he wore along with his father, the striped coats they both wore looked old and stiff — that was how they dressed up back then, he commented. But I just couldn’t figure out why everyone in the picture was so serious.

Grandpa was quiet for a moment. Seemed like he was lost in a thought somewhere outside his room, then he spoke. “Maybe it was just the time, I don’t recall. Back then life was a bit more serious and composed. More . . . defined than how people live nowadays.”

I wasn’t sure what he meant by “defined.” I thought it meant people read more dictionaries back then. I just didn’t know. But I decided to let it go, simply because Grandpa said things like that, using words I never understood completely. And because I always nodded in agreement and he would just go on talking.

His eyes wavered and started to close. I wasn’t sure if he was getting sleepy or not. He leaned back in his bed and looked out the window. “Leaves are changing,” he said. “Looks like we will get snow soon. Probably get to see those wild turkeys cross the meadow soon.”

I looked out the window. All I saw were the two trees in the centre of the open patio and the walkway bordering other rooms. He was probably daydreaming again. But I loved the way he looked at things. I just never questioned whatever he said, because it was Grandpa.

I guess that’s why he always loved to look back at me and squeeze my hand gently in his. Though I didn’t see those turkeys, I could just dream of them in my own mind, just like he probably was doing.

I looked out the window. For a moment I remembered the wild turkeys I had seen with him out at the farm three years ago.

“You see them too?” he asked.

“Yes, I do, Grandpa.”

“Good.” He replied. “He leaned back on his bed and then closed his eyes. I know he would rest a little while and then he would tell me another story. Maybe he’d even share with me another picture.

I guess I will just wait and see.

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