Well the Saints did it. We won the first game. BAM! Inspiration.
So continuing on with the theme of inspiration I am going to post photos of both sets of Grandparents.
Throughout life they have been an inspiration. My mother’s parents for their music and my fathers parents for their love of written word. I owe them a debt of gratitude and more for what they have passed on and the shining example of human beings that they are. At the end I am posting something I wrote about my mothers dad and I am in the process of writing about my father’s dad, both of them have been missing from this earth for two years (give or take). Enjoy.
My Grandpa Seibert is the 3rd from the left I believe.
And this is him when he was a traveling Jazz Musician.
And this is my very beautiful Grandma Seibert. My understanding is she was a fan of the jitterbug and she and my Grandpa met at a contest she was in. He asked her to marry him and she said no. Well, obviously she changed her mind.
And here they are again, William Peter and Vivian Virgene Seibert
Here is an old picture of my Grandma Seiberts Grandma, Hattie Belle Brierton. I liked the looks of her and the stories about her so much I named my daughter after her. She was feisty. And a tough cookie. Her husband is Charles.
Now these pictures below are of my G&G Cherrington, Irvin Clarence and Reba.
This is my Grandpa standing next to the tree they often tied his wrist to when he played outside because he would run away. He has a look of honriness. He kept that look and I saw it many times on his face.
My Grandma, ever the lady.
And here they are together in their living room.
From my journal………
On July 5th, 2008
My grandpa died last night.
I knew it was happening for a while. But the last two days my family kept a constant vigil at his house. My grandma would kiss his lips and he would kiss back. At this point she would smile and say “He can still kiss.” Tender moments on the line of life and death bring things into focus. Life is suddenly not about bills, petty differences between siblings or the perfect day, rather it becomes about a person, a good person who lived a life worth living.
I was not able to make it to the vigil nor will I be able to attend the funeral, something I am dealing with by drinking the allowed amount of alcohol for a pregnant lady and having sudden outbursts of sobbing in public places, my shower and anywhere else. My condition only aids in this. A part of me wishes I could have seen him one last time and said my proper farewells. I even thought of calling and telling him one more time what an inspiration he has been to me and how he and grandma has been a cornerstone in my life. On the other side of that coin, I am glad in some way I wasn’t able to do this because my last memory of him isn’t a picture of a wizened old man but that of a robust man looking healthy and vibrant, hands and nails encrusted with oil and dirt from working around the garage or in his rock shop. The last time I saw him I could tell he was weary and that his health was not great but he was still able to sit across the kitchen table from me and sip his coffee.
I can see his tacky blue pants, the kind of blue that was last sighted in the 70’s. Also pictured is the thread bare white t-shirts that were so thin he may as well have been bare-chested. Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever saw my grandpa bare-chested except for a chance encounter on the way to the bathroom one night. Having never seen him shirtless I remember feeling awkward. He was a very modest man, in every sense. He did not boast, he was not haughty and he had a sense of decency and morals that have long since waned away in this tiresome world.
The most obvious memory I have of him and the one I dare say most of the family shares in, is his love for music. Not just listening but producing music, every day on his hummingbird. No guitar has been loved more and it rids me with guilt to think of my guitars sitting idly upstairs un-played and needing a good dusting. I have no regrets in my life so far mainly because I do not believe in wasting time regretting, but if I had one it would be that I did not take more time to sit and play guitar with him, no matter how clumsily my fingers would have hit the chords. He, with my grandma at the piano, belted out old hymns, love songs and music that lyrically and truthfully was a bit morbid. These morbid tales had titles such as “Put my little shoes away” and “A daisy a day”. They always involved someone dying prematurely or were ballads of one lover dying and the other living on in a depressed manner.
Funeral arrangements are being made and I am feeling the pangs of not being able to be there. It’s like I am missing out on saying good-bye, even though I know that’s silly. I knew the last time I saw him that it was possible that I was seeing him for the last time.
The cousins, aunts and uncles were all gathered out at the farm for the passing. They played all the old songs to him. As was told to me, at one point they were all gathered at the living room table, Grandpa lay on his bed by the front windows. Grandma got up and went over to Grandpa and kissed him and told him that it was alright, he could go be with Jesus, she would be fine. He looked at her and died. That’s the way it should be I think. Call it coincidence or what you like but I think there is something there. The human spirit will endure a lot when it thinks it is still needed.
Faith and a Gentle Giant
My Grandpa was a great man of faith. I have a rich history tied up in my grandparents love of God. Any holiday was begun with prayer and as mentioned earlier, many hymns were sung, just for the fun of singing of course, but you never doubted that my grandparents really believed what they sang. “Cannans Land” was not a place of imagination but a real physical location that we travel to when we die. At dinner time we sang the doxology and then my grandpa, a quiet, sturdy barreling man who as a child I believed to be every bit as big as Andre the Giant, he would pray. He would start of by addressing God as “Heavenly Father” and then proceed to thank him for the time with family. At this point his lips would begin to quiver a bit and his voice would become gradually high pitched as he continued on and a couple of tears would slide down his cheek. He loved his family. He loved us. And it is nice to be loved not for what you do but for who you are, bumps, bruises, scrapes and all. I and the whole Cherrington gang were loved by a gentle giant of a man not in spite of who we are but because of who we are.
My faith is weak on most days and on the other days, almost all together absent. I drink, I smoke and I curse like a sailor on good days (sorry Grandma), though never in front of my grandparents. Grandma still has that yard stick. But seeing the lives of my Grandparents has always been reassuring. It is the little voice inside me that tells me that there is some truth to this God thing after all. It is the kick in the pants that keeps me believing that one day I will go “over Jordon” and find myself face to face again with grandpa at the pearly gates he sang about so often.
Laughter and Humor
Perhaps hand in hand with this faith was my Grandpa’s ability to see the humor in things he didn’t understand. I knew him for only a short amount of time and perhaps this quality is something he attained later on in life as he grew in wisdom as we all hopefully do as we age. What ever the case, the lesson of laughter in face of non-understanding is a long and fruitful lesson that was shown to me through him. An example of this, was a small conversation between my husband Dale and he. Dale, has many tattoos, something I know my grandparents do not understand but they quietly accept the fact that we continue to get them. One morning, while staying at their house, my husband wandered down shirtless. Dale looked at my grandpa and asked, “You know why I get all these tattoos don’t ya?” Grandpa sat quiet for a moment, shook his head and then said no, he didn’t. “It’s to save money on t-shirts” my husband replied. Grandpa lost it, his head leaned way back eyes closed, upper teeth characteristically jutting out a bit past his bottom set as he laughed.
I firmly believe that Grandpa was able to eat as much bacon and eggs as he did because he worked hard and he laughed often.
Peanut Butter and Dentures
Cheerios, Post Toastie’s and oyster crackers can be found at any given moment in my grandma’s lazy susan cabinet. Along with these staples is a seemingly endless supply of toast, peanut butter and marmalade jelly. In the mornings my grandpa could be found at the kitchen table with his coffee, a Kleenex brand paper towel complete with pills and peanut butter toast. I know he ate the cereal too and dressed his toast in marmalade as well but I remember more mornings with peanut butter than not. He would bite down, you would hear the crunch of the toast and then as he chewed you would also hear the clicking of his dentures as polly-dent and peanut butter fought it out to see who would reign supreme. The peanut butter always won.
I had peanut butter toast quite by mistake the morning after his passing. Dale and I sat in bed at 6:30 in the morning and drank our coffee. I managed to make a good mess of the toast and it hit me, this was the “Grandpa Breakfast”. Denny’s has the “grand slam” and the waffle house has something of similar fashion, we at the Kellett household have the “Grandpa Breakfast”, peanut butter toast, coffee and the optional jar of marmalade I keep in my fridge just incase.
Rocks, bucket loads of ‘em
I always thought my grandpa had brought back buried treasure when he and grandma would come home from Arizona. In the back of his truck would be at least a couple boxes of rocks. A good bit of them looked like large balls of gravel but Grandpa knew what lay inside. Fire argot was my favorite. I loved to hold it up to the light and see the little slits of orange and red glow. It was like magic to me. Fool’s gold was another favorite because what kid doesn’t like something that looks like gold? I have no doubt that as I write this there are still buckets upon buckets of rocks down in his basement. He lined his drive with them and people admired them so much that they admired them right out of his driveway. Just inside the back door of their house is a three tiered thing that holds more rocks of various sizes, colors and shapes. He made bolo ties and found old jewelry settings and filled the empty rings or broaches with some of the smaller rocks. Some were just cut and polished into various shapes and left to sit in baskets. Poor Grandma had to think of new places to put them every year.
My grandpa was ornery. There is a picture of him by a tree as a child. A story goes along with that picture but I can’t remember it to do it justice, something to do with punishment. I think he was tied to the tree so he wouldn’t run away. Anyways that look and smile on his face is the same I saw on him as an adult and it seems to say “If you only knew what I did”. I think the orneriness was what gave him his lust for life and passion for metal detecting, rocks and collecting random parts to random things at garage sales. He was always tinkering. His hands were never idle.
When I was young he told me he would pay be a quarter for each bucket of walnuts I picked up. This sounded great until I saw the bucket-it was 5 gallons. I ended up making 3 bucks, that’s a lot of walnuts folks.
He once brought home from Arizona some “Rattlesnake eggs” in a manila envelope for us grand kids to marvel at. Of course once you opened the envelope a loud rattling noise went off and caused you to drop the envelope and run. I think it gave him joy to watch our reactions and as a result I do a lot of things like this to my kids. It’s just funny.
My grandpa had an on going feud with the moles in his yard. I imagine the moles will in some way miss him, though perhaps not the shovel head or the gun. Grandpa was a patient man when it came to ridding his yard of pesky varmints. He would stand waiting for one to pop its little head out of one of the many holes it had dug and once it did, well that was the end for the furry little varmint. (Varmint was a word used by him for me when I would steal the pen he kept in his shirt pocket; He would laugh and say “You Varmint!” I believe he stopped wearing his pen due to the frustration of me stealing it all the time)
Passing of the torch, so to speak
I am glad I am able to see some of the little things that were apart of my grandpa in his children. From what I have observed, My Uncle Tim received his laughter and orneriness, My Uncle Sam his curious nature and knack for bringing home odd items at yard sales, My Aunt Theresa his orneriness and spunk and my mom his love for toast and coffee as well as collecting things, though in her case it happens to be sea shells and tea cups, not rocks. I am not sure which is better. I would love to say I have some of his wonderful qualities, I don’t know about that but I am the proud inheritor of his whistle that could be heard at various times during the day as he walked through the house. It wiggled and that’s pretty cool.
It is funny little memories that help us to remember a person as they were. These moments carry some element of the person’s character, their love, their passion and their humanity. When I think of grandpa I will always think about bolo ties, cowboy hats, peanut butter, rocks, moles, garage sale gadgets, forgotten verses to songs in which Grandma was always quick to remind him, along with many other random things. All of these things by themselves make no sense but put into context with Grandpa makes all the sense in the world. They remind me of the great man he was and finally it brings a smile to my face and makes the day brighter.
Thank you Grandpa for your laughter, your humanity, your music, your honesty, your faith and your heart, I am a better person having known you.