Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Grandma’s House

I probably should be at least attempting to sleep, but I have had so many thoughts rattling around in my head and I can't seem to get them to quiet down. Maybe writing this up will help, maybe it won't. We shall see.

I don't count myself as overly gushy and sentimental. I remember nostalgia and they were good times. I do have a "remember when" or "that one time" repository which I love to pull out and have a little sharing session, but I don't feel to attached to...things. Charity and I have lived out our lives for the most part in another country. I have many things there which I enjoy and we do have a storage unit in KC which we store many, as of yet, unused items from our wedding over three years ago.

But again, not overly attached to stuff. I hope I live out my life attached to people.

However, I had a bit of a hard time this weekend. My grandmother Moorehead is making a wonderful move from her little old house in Greenville to her new one in Ocala. This news is a minor trickle in the waterfalls of life, but it holds significance for me. "The Cousins" as we call ourselves are 24 strong+ a growing number of spouses, is a tight little group. We don't see each other always all that often. For a fact, I have not seen some of them in quite some time and it may be much longer (I hope not) before I see some of them again, BUT when we do get together there is a short pause of "what have you been doing since the last time..." and it is like we never met. I love the times we spend together and I ache for that extra hour or day we can spend with the family.

All that to say this, I rank #2. The only cousin older is only 6 months older and Stephen and I were more like brothers at times then cousins. He and I may be the only two that have a few memories of Papa and Grandma's house in Flint. To most of them, 9SP was all they had ever known and for more than 20 years, it where Papa and Grandma lived.

You see that was the place I dressed up in a black felt hat with a black cardboard rim, black cape and black clothes, painted on a cheesy mustache of black eyeliner pencil and strapped a samari sword to my belt to go trick or treating with my brother—who was wearing the exact same thing—and my Papa who believed the job wasn't done until we had visited every house in a ten block radius and stopped at the house three times to "unload" (aka Papa contributing to his later diabetes snack). For those of you that thought we were ninjas or were just plane puzzled, we were both Zorro. Why? Because at 9SP we used to watch a second rate Zorro series on their tv.

There were the many times we packed more family into that back room than any fire code would allow. How we used to love just sitting around and talking for hours. How someone would say "I'm thirsty" and Seth would disappear only to pop back in with enough drinks for everyone.

Or the two big trees out back that were perfect for climbing and the yard that I believe we dug up more than any child ought to be allowed. Better yet, the old fiberglass white camper with the green stripe that all the boys would sleep in and we would never get enough sleep and we always had a blast.

It was the place where my wife Charity and I did most of our early dating. Or course it was also the place where Stephen and Esther, Ben and Kerianne, Camilo and Jessica, Michael and Stacey and who knows how many others spent time in courting.

Today, it was hard to remember it all. Today I laughed with family and friends and enjoyed the pleasure of my family around and the closeness I sense in their interactions, but there were twinges of sadness too.

My last night in 9SP was in the room where I saw my Papa for the last time in the flesh. When nobody else was around I sat in the back room against the open door and looked at the spot where my Papa sat in his recliner celebrating his last birthday party any licking that silly card from Kerianne. It was odd, I am a guy and I know that means no crying, but I do on occasion when the occasion warrants it. There were today memories that hurt, but today's memories seemed detached a bit from reality. Not as if they'd never happened, but that they were only shadows of the here and now. The halls and yard and rooms all echo memories and you can almost feel the joy bleeding over and out of every creaking joist, sticking door and each particular scar on the various pieces of furniture.

I didn't like leaving Grandma's house today and a part of me knows I may never see it again in this life, but I came to a realization today;

Grandma's house was only that, a house. But with those people that made it what it is...something I wish I could define and shape with my meager words...they were Grandma's home.

I also realized I had the same feeling at Papa's funeral. I looked at that empty shell, carried that empty shell and said goodbye to that empty shell but it was the man I missed. I missed him. I will miss the location of memories, but I still have Grandma's home no matter where she goes and ultimately, I will have it far into the future if I have those around me with whom i can share another "remember when" story.

More to come...

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Daniel and Charity Moorehead