Thursday, November 17, 2005

Thinking of Gramps

Tonight I gave Alex a couple of gifts: my old dog breed book, which is heavy on the photos (bought back in my singles days when I considered getting a puppy instead of -- ahem -- kids), and a small car that came free with a pack of eight AA batteries. The car is the type that you press down on and pull back a short distance, then let go and it goes rolling off at half the speed of sound. Alex was, of course, captivated with it, but had a little trouble getting it to work on its own. When I told him, "You can do it!" he leveled his gaze at me, held up the corresponding number of fingers, and said very seriously, "Papa. I'm only three years old." I laughed about that one for quite a while.

I also finally, months after buying them, felt it was time to put up my photo collages I got made after Gramps passed away. I have two collages, which are excellent and focus on photos of me and Gramps together over the years. The other two are just blown-up photos of me as a baby and him holding me. I made up a small paper with a small tribute to him:

October 29, 1917 -
June 12, 2005

There is a big empty place
In my heart where you once were.
Please don't feel bad, Gramps,
If sometimes I can't cry.

I love you
I miss you
I'll see you again one day

- Naters

He always called me Naters. Nater from Decatur, County Seat of Wise. I never knew what it meant -- still don't, I suppose -- but I heard it a million times. I shed one tear as I hung them. I have a hell of a time crying over Gramps. Part of my mind has not accepted that he is gone; it still tells me that he's just over at home on Hunn Road. Or off to Hawaii with Granny again. Or down at Jeff's at the football draft. But not gone. How can he be gone?

Tough night. I try to dedicate my writing to him, mentally I mean, but I'm afraid I'll just be the fourth generation of Gomer that does not take advantage of his gift. Gramps' father was a poet and songwriter, he himself was a stellar poet, my Dad is a very talented writer, and I have the gift, too. "A Bronx Tale" is one of my favorite movies, and one I would've never expected Gramps to like, but he did. A line in it says, "There's nothing in the world so sad as wasted talent." God, please don't let me be just that.

I'm slogging away at my NaNoWriMo novel; 35,000 words and going strong. I had hit a point where I could almost hear potential readers saying, "So what? Who cares? Why am I reading this?" so I shook up the tale and took it in a totally different direction. I can always rewrite and fix it up later. The goal is finishing it. As the famous writer Nate Gomer (ha! that's me! Get it?) once said about writing and re-writing, "It's hard to make a shoe from scratch, but easy to polish it to a high shine." What I mean there is, the first draft is the hard part, the part that's like six months in the dentist's chair. The re-writing is the part I enjoy, taking that rough material that's brimming with that elusive element called "potential" and honing into something salvageable. Who knows -- maybe something great, or at least something one could read without having to suppress dry heaves.

Gramps, I so miss you. Half of me wants to go with you, because I don't know how this world and all the people in it can go on living their regular way when you're not in it, too. I told Jeff outside the hospital, minutes after you left us, that I felt like stepping into the middle of the street and stopping all the cars until they acknowledged that the planet had lost a great, great man. How I squandered those precious hours I could have spent being with you, scooting up next to your recliner so you could hear me, telling you those dull stories of my everyday life that would thrill you. How I'm sorry that I let the days and weeks and months and years roll by, allowing a 40-minute trip to be just as effective a barrier to visiting you and Granny as a separation of several thousand miles. How I'd like to hear you chuckle, sneeze and swear at it, belch while patting your belly, blow your nose into your hanky, or break into a loud, spontaneous laugh.

I love you and miss you, Gramps.

I'm glad I've got this stupid fucking blog to write to, otherwise I would never spend the time to write this stuff out.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I miss grandpa too... I was listening to Angels Flying Too Close To The Ground as I read this and it was really hard to hold back the tears, but I had to because I'm at work! -Zach

4:26 PM  

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