I had a dream a few nights back, a good dream. My cousin and I were busy in my Grandmother's kitchen putting Sunday leftovers from the avocado colored fridge onto the 50s era metal breakfast table. The family used to come together every Sunday for Grandma's cooking and in the summer or over holidays, when we were out of school, we would stay over and have leftovers the next day...or so. Grandma always made sure there was plenty. Better to have too much than not enough, she thought.
So, there we were, two red heads in the kitchen taking lids off the saved cool whip and cottage cheese containers that now held mashed potatoes, veggies and roast meat. Buzzing about when Grandpa came to stand in the doorway. He was wearing his classic overalls and light denimy blue button up. I was so startled by his presence I stopped in my tracks. He was the old Grandpa, the good version, the jovial one we missed so much after he became so sick and unlike himself. His hair was slightly muffled like it was when he had just come in from the garden and placed his straw hat on the pantry hook. He ran his hand back through his hair as he was telling me a story. Then he laughed his hearty laugh, probably at his own joke.
I wish I knew what he was saying and that I could remember every word. I was so startled to see his face and the red birthmark spot under his chin letting me know it was him for sure, that I was shocked out of my sleep. It was so real and I woke up so happy to have seen his face. It's been 10 long years without seeing him. What warm wholesome goodness. And like we do with the best dreams we lay our heads back down and close our eyes real tight in hopes that we'll fall back to sleep right where we left off. Somehow, we can never quite get there.
I wore a dress to church on Sunday that reminded me of my Great Grandma. Every time I am reminded I can't stop remembering and thinking of her for days. It was a polyester blended dress with a black diagonal criss cross pattern. She had a pair of pants that looked nearly identical in my mind. She wore them what seemed like every day. She liked her polyester pants.
We would walk or ride our bikes to her little white cottage which was just across the way. Just across the field. We never had to knock or ask permission for things unless it was going beyond her sight. We just popped right in and she was always there, always there to greet and give undivided love, there was plenty to go around. Once she was on her feet, up from her reading chair to welcome you with arms wide open, she would freshen her coffee and tell you to help yourself to "lemonade in the fridge and chocolate chip cookies in the freezer." Always in the hard plastic brown bowl right on top, left hand side. She would head back into the living room, plop down in her chair, sloshing a bit of coffee on her polyester pants and we would follow with our lemonade and cookies for a lazy afternoon on her soft brown couch. We didn't have to say anything at all knowing we could say anything we needed. Most of the time we laid there while she read her book, safe in the silence of love. Somewhere in the afternoon when it wasn't quite so hot we'd tag along on her daily walk and on the way back she would let us stop and throw rocks in the water hole for as long as we wanted. Big ones, little ones, medium ones, ker plunk, making their different sounds as they hit the water. Those were good days.
The depth of meaning one person's utter devotion and steadfast love has becomes etched in the mind and written on our heart. It won't ever go away. It will never be forgotten. So aware of their absence like missing socks for bare feet on a cold night. The love is so much a part of you, woven into the tapestry of who you are and will be for generations to come. We are reminded unawares with the waft of their perfume or favorite cologne. When we walk into a cafe that smells exactly like their house, no one could pry you away because that aroma cannot be created and you wish with every ounce you could bottle it up and take it home. Reminded with overalls, straw hats, kleenex tucked into couch cushions, the crumpling of newspaper pages, snapping green beans and the shucking of corn. Their sights, smells, sounds. Even with fabrics; worn plaids, soft denims, plush pink robes and the pattern of polyester pants. And on rare priceless occasion with wide eyed wonder, we see them, in our dreams.