Sunday, February 14, 2010

My sick uncle, and an ode to Grandma's "stuff"

On Friday evening, I got a strange call from my uncle. He asked me if I would take care of his dog (Duke) if he had to go into the hospital. It was a very odd and shocking question, so of course I had to ask why. It turns out that he had shoveled his driveway, then a path 100 yards to the woodpile, and was on his second wheelbarrow load of firewood when he got a tight chest, hot, and a bit dizzy. (keep in mind he's 74) I told him to call my mom since she's 5 minutes away and go to the ER, but of course he said no since he was feeling better. We talked for a few minutes, but after I got off the phone and talked to Lisa, I decided to pack an overnight bag and head over there to be with him in case something happened or it was worse than he made it sound.
He seemed ok that night other than a mild headace, so I slept on the couch. He told me in the morning he was fine, and after an hour or so of talking I headed home. On the way I called my mom to ask her to go see him, which she did. When she got there, he said he was having pains in his arm and leg, so mom took him straight to the hospital. They admitted him, and he is staying there tilll at least Tuesday morning so they can watch him and run tests. I'm staying there with Duke and watching the house while he's gone, but came home for our usual Sunday dinner with friends, and to gather work clothes and lunch food for tomorrow. Some Valentines weekend, huh? *sigh*
While at the house early yesterday, Lisa and I decided the place needed cleaning and started at it. It wasn't messy by any means, it just needed dusted and swept. While I was helping, I kept noticing things around the house. This little knick-knack on the mantle, that ceramic something-or-another on the buffet, little things all over. Everything I saw reminded me of Grandma, and made me miss her more than I usually do. Afterall, I was in HER house, still full of her stuff even though she has been gone for almost 14 years. My uncle still hasn't changed a thing, other than putting away all of her sewing stuff. Every little nook and cranny in the house had something of grandma's, whether it was some sort of decorative item, or something she made, or her cookware and more plates and bowls than anyone would need to feed a family of 40. Even her bedroom remains unchanged, other than her clothes are now gone. Walking around and seeing all of her stuff made me happy and sad at the same time. I'm happy to see things that remind me of her, but I'm sad to remember that she's gone. But...with all of her stuff still around, and all of the memories in my head, she'll never be gone.
I stood at the back door this morning with a cup of coffee, staring out over the 8 acres behind the house and trying to picture it in my head how my dad and uncle said it was when they were kids. I tried to picture the chicken coop, the pigpen, the dairy cow, and the fruits and gardens grandma had all over. At the same time, I pictured how I would return it to the way it was when the time comes that I inherit the place, and wonder if grandma would be proud. I can only hope that she would be. I watched some birds eat from one of the feeders, and saw 5 deer walk through the very back of the property near the creek. I smiled the whole time, remembering grandma, enjoying the view, and thinking how someday I will make this yet again a working homestead as it was when my grandparents moved there in 1930.
I love you grandma. I miss you. And I will take very good care of your property, and your stuff.

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