Sunday, October 7, 2012

"What is it, then, between us?"

- Walt Whitman, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

A dark urn of walnut wood sits on the carpet surrounded by plastic, furry and felt toys. It’s a somber piece that looks strange alongside the jumble of bright, primary colors. Children’s toys scream out for attention. The urn, on the other hand, draws you in with its quiet energy, like a fetish.

It has drawn Claire in. She pulls off the top by its bulky knob, puts blocks inside. Closes it, again and again.

I had mixed feelings about letting her play with it. She’s rough, dinging it up. She has yet to learn its significance to me. The piece sat on a bookshelf to be contemplated; I thought it remained out of her reach. Or maybe that’s what I pretended to believe. Perhaps, I secretly wanted her to find it.

My grandfather made this urn. He died in 1996. I miss him, and Claire will never meet him. When she touches the wood, I like to believe that somewhere in its oils rests grandpa's DNA and that Claire is coming under his influence.

Grandpa and Me
She has his eyebrows. I wish for her his gentleness, his love of God, his good singing voice. He would have loved Claire so.

As I watch her, my mind drifts to my grandfather in his “wood shop” (really the garage). He would start with a block of rough wood and turn it on a lathe, until it took on a refined shape and burnished surface. The work required patience and concentration. Not unlike the work required of a good relationship too.

I am honored to be a witness to these two lives. I am sad that they will never come to know one another. The dark walnut urn becomes the hand that reaches across the divide of generations and connects the two.

32 comments:

  1. You write beautiful, evocative prose.

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  2. Lovely piece, just beautiful! I like how the urn holds everything together. (I see you were special ed, my son has Downs and is in second grade at our local public school. Sadly my mom passed when I was pregnant with him.)

    Looking forward to following your blog!

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  3. Oh, you made me get misty. Well done. The beauty is that Claire will know him, through you. You've given your readers a beautiful introduction to a man you clearly loved. I love the photo - it adds to the spirit of your post.

    Found you through My Froley blog hop (clicked your link because of the brilliant blog title) and have immediately become a devoted reader!

    (oh, but please get rid of your comment security so I can comment more without squinting!)

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  4. This is beautiful!

    I am your newest follower. I would love for you to stop by my blog.

    www.1001tears.blogspot.com

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  5. Oh, I miss my grandpa very much too. Beautiful post!!!!!

    I am stopping by from Mommy Moments. Love for you to stop by and return the follow when you can. I am hosting Mom's Monday Mingle now. Love for you to link up!
    www.thenaptimereview.com

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  6. Hi Rachel, I'm Anne from Life on the Funny Farm (http://annesfunnyfarm.blogspot.com) visiting from the Mom’s Monday Mingle.

    This post was so beautifully written! I've added myself as a follower, and I'm sure I'll be back for more.

    Anyway, it’s nice to "meet" you. I hope you can pop over to my blog and say hi sometime if you get the chance.

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  7. This is a lovely post - thanks so much for linking up :)

    Sarah
    http://acatlikecuriosity.blogspot.co.uk/

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  8. That is a beautiful piece Rachel. I can imagine your grandad smiling, watching with awe as she played with the urn. He would have been so proud. Thats a lovely old photo too. Thankyou for linking up, I really enjoy the way you write :)

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  9. Following from Mom's Monday Mingle #24! Please stop by my blog if you haven't already. :) Have a great day.

    Kristina
    http://www.yomichaelmichael.com

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  10. WEll worth stopping by, except I need more tissue. My grand daughter was experimenting with taking tissues out and putting them back into the box.
    Beautiful story.

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    Replies
    1. This is a beautiful post, made me think about my own grandpa! I'm your newest follower, just stopping by from the "Mom's Monday Mingle" blog hop. If ya get a chance, check out these blogs:
      http://diaryofabfmama.blogspot.com
      http://unorganizedchaosx3.blogspot.com
      http://whatlilboyzrmadeof.blogspot.com

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  11. This is so beautiful! I love that photo!

    Stopping by from the GFC hop...new follower.

    Leslie
    http://sincerely-leslie.blogspot.com

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  12. Thank you everyone for your generous comments! I'm overwhelmed by the love. Grandpa is too!

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  13. Oh what a beautiful post. I never met there of my grandfathers, and my grandmothers also died with I was quite young. It's sad really.

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  14. i found your blog thru the naptime review mom's monday mingle and now follow thru gfc. thanks, dear!

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  15. You are an incredible writer. How beautiful this piece of your very personal history and the reflection of the past to the present and how it all is interwoven. I'm glad you shared and linked it up to the Empowered Living Tuesday hop.

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  16. Beautiful post! I miss my grandfather every day (he passed in 1998). I also have small tokens of him and my grandmother all over my house. Thanks for the sweet post that totally took me back to all the wonderful memories of my sweet grandfather.

    Thanks for linking this up to The Sunday Parenting Party...so glad I found your blog!

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    Replies
    1. I love living with things that remind me of family members who are gone. So much more valuable to me than a chair I had reupholstered or the matching curtains! Thanks for sharing!

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  17. That is so beautiful Rachel, and the perfect piece to link up today. Nice to "hear " your voice again this week. Hugs.

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    1. Thank you, Stephanie. Your words mean a lot!

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  18. Beautiful. I can only imagine the stories you will be able to share with your daughter, as she grows up, about your grandpa. Visiting today via TALU.

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    Replies
    1. He was so special to me! I hope she can come to know him through me.

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  19. It is really weird when you stop to think about all of the most important people in your lives and that not all of them know each other. Whenever my grandfather comes up in conversation (passed when I was 12), I am reminded that my brother-in-law never knew him. It seems like he has been in our lives forever, so surely "Grampy" was a part of his life too?!?

    I realize it's not the same because your Dad actually made the urn, but I always felt the same way about our oriental rugs. We're Armenian, and our grandfather used to be a buyer for Jordan Marsh (an old dept store), so he would travel the world researching and selecting rugs to bring back. I still have ratty old little scatter rugs I can't bear to part with because to me, it would feel like kicking him out. :( [#TALU]

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    1. LOVE this story! Thank you for sharing. I also love the connection to your grandma on your site. It's really beautiful and touching.

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  20. This is absolutely beautiful. I have a 'Claire' also :-)

    They will meet again, and it will be a glorious reunion.

    So glad I found your blog via TALU.

    Your newest follower,
    Denise Learning 2 Walk Again

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  21. Beautiful, Rachel! I think I missed this the first time around. So so glad I found it now. Chills. And wonderful photo of you with your grandfather.

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  22. So beautiful. And such an amazing tribute to your grandfather. Something tells us that he is watching Claire and smiling from above.-The Dose Girls

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  23. This post is beautiful. My son was only 18 months old when my grandfather passed away, I see my grandfather in the twinkle in my son's eyes and the way he grins when he is up to mischief. :)

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  24. Visiting from our Ladies Only Blog Share! This is beautiful! No doubt in my mind that Claire will know your grandfather through you. I bet you have a lot of stories to share!

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