I took my mother for a ride recently. It wasn’t a long ride, just a few miles; but it was a sad ride, one that brought tears and sorrow.
She had called me to tell me about her daily devotional that morning, and somehow we got to talking about the house she grew up in … a house that has created memories for so many of my family because of the people who lived there.
My grandfather was a minister. He and my grandmother shared a faith in God that lit their lives from within.
One of my favorite childhood memories was spending the afternoon in that old farmhouse with my grandparents, eating crackers with cream cheese while they had their afternoon tea. It was a ritual that my brother and sister and I viewed with secret delight.
The kitchen had an enormous coal stove against the back wall of the house, one that my grandfather used to make pies. My grandmother would make the crust, which I have never been able to duplicate; and my grandfather would make the filling.
One of his creations was a chocolate mint pie, which he admitted took numerous attempts to get just right. It was the amount of mint extract that was the trouble, either too much or too little.
By the time we were offered a piece, he had gotten the amount just right; and while I don’t remember the actual piece of pie that I ate, I do remember my joy at sitting at that kitchen table as he asked me if I would like a piece.
I don’t remember really tasting the piece he gave me, I just remember that feeling of supreme satisfaction not so much because it was good, which it was; but because he cared enough to offer me some.
The making of those pies was an example of his love for family and friends…he was a diabetic and could not eat any of them; but chose to make them for others.
There was a long trestle table, flanked by two benches, on which many a game of Scrabble was played. I still have that old Scrabble board with their Scrabble dictionary and the scoring notebook.
My grandparents would run string around the walls, up near the ceiling, to hang cards on at Christmas time. I would stand in awe at the hundreds of cards that they received each year. It was a testament of how much these two dear people were loved.
Out behind the old house, was a large yard edged in flowers and shrubs. Purple lilacs were the backdrop for peonies, poppies, day lilies, lupines and a large assortment of other flowers.
In the middle of the lawn sat a fish pond, filled with large goldfish. This was where we could find my grandfather on a warm summer day, sitting there near his pond watching those fish.
It was a place that instilled love and safety; and as I look back at those years, that love and safety still exist, interspersed with an overwhelming sense of nostalgia for the simplicity of childhood.
But I think that the house itself would have meant nothing if not for that wonderful, loving couple that opened their hearts and lives.
As my mother and I sat and looked across the empty field at that beloved house, we were filled with a profound sadness.
The house is empty now, too old and worn down to be a safe dwelling. It looked sad and lost, as if missing the family that had lived there all those years.
It was that sadness and lost air that drove home to me how much I missed my grandparents.
They were the dearest of people, loved by all, missed by many.
I know they are in heaven now, worshipping that God that filled their lives with so much love.
That knowledge eases some of the sadness, but does not completely fill up the empty space inside that is left by their absence.
© Drusilla Mott and https://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2011