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Sunday, November 06, 2005
"It's been a long road, getting from there to here..."

I think the opening line to the theme song from Enterprise pretty accurately sums up my weekend. And I don't just mean because the Vols teased me with a possible comeback against Notre Dame only to utterly and completely collapse in the fourth quarter. Nor am I referring to the Titans game this afternoon that was at times just unbearable to watch.

No, I refer to the overall weekend. I took Friday off from work. I'd got a card in the mail from the Chevy dealership informing my car had a recall on it and I should bring it on in for service. So, I figured I'd take a day off, drop the car off, get it serviced and help my grandfather get the Dish installed so he could watch sleep through all kinds of great stations again. Sounded like a plan to me and I was looking forward to it.

We moved my grandfather to a retirement community here in Smyrna last weekend and this weekend, my parents planned to go back to his place in Memphis to clean out what was left and to bring back what some of his furniture and other items. I was asked to go along on the trip for company and also because I am younger and will heal faster should an injury occur from moving stuff. So, we hit the road early Friday morning, after dropping off my car Thursday night for service.

Well just outside of Dickson, my phone starts to play Rocky Top. This is nothing new as this is my standard ring tone...if you wonder why, please look at the name of my blog again. Anyway, it's the Chevy dealer. Sure they're happy to fix the car and did I know my head gasket was leaking. No, but I suspected. See, a few weeks ago my car took on a raised manhole cover in a gravel lot and lost. In my lack of thinking when my car began to overheat, the engine died. I was warned by a mechanic this could happen and I was pretty much prepared for it. The good part was--since it was accident related, it should be covered by the claim. So, I told the dealer to hold off on fixing it and I'd contact the insurance company. Which let me just say this--I do not know how I survived before I had a cell phone. And not just to call myself and hear Rocky Top when I'm feeling depressed. So, after many conversations, I found that the insurance company would go and look at my car and get back to me. Yeah, so I'm still waiting for the call back.

So, the long trek to Memphis continues.

We got there and got to work, packing and sorting through my grandfather's things. I have to admit it was difficult at times. I know my mom had a hard time when she had to go through his magnets from the refrigerator, many of which we'd sent them from our journeys across the U.S. Also, my mom told me if there was anything of my grandfather's I wanted, to speak up and let them know. This was all hard on us all because we're basically doing the things you'd do for any relative after they've passed away..but my grandfather is still here. I'm happy about that, but it's weirdly depressing and surreal all at the same time. I helped go through and pack up what we wanted and leave behind what we didn't want for an estate sale. I kept some things that had I had memories of my grandparents of--including this rock that sat on their desk for years. One side says, "Turn me over please" and the other side says "Thank you."

Found lots of pictures, saved calendars my grandmother had kept since the 1960s and a box full of letters--some my grandmother wrote back to her family as she and her family travelled the world (my grandfather was in the Army and they lived in Germany and Paraguay when my mom was growing up). There was also a box of love letters from grandfather wrote to my grandmother when we fighting in World War II. He's asked that we not read them and I respect his wishes, though part of me is curious as well. I mean, these people were married for 50 plus years...I'd love to read what he said to her. I remember my grandmother telling me they met in a Sunday School class he was teaching and she came and had lots of questions. She joked he must have asked her out that first time to see if he could get her to stop asking all those hard questions.....

My grandmother also had a lot of antique furniture. They had some marble top tables which means they are beautiful but also weigh about 1100 pounds each...give or take a pound or two. We got stuff boxed up and loaded. I stayed in my grandfather's place that Friday night and I have to admit it was kind of surreal. During the whole process, I kept thinking of things and would have memories come up and there were times I got a bit overwhelmed by things. Looking at all these things that always were in Grandmother's house were coming to my parent's, sister's houses and my grandfather's new was all kind of strange . I was reminded of going through my divorce in a ex-wife used to use a certain type of Victoria's Secret spray scent...I don't remember which one by name, but were I to smell it, I could tell you if it is or is not it. I remember our first Christmas married, I was looking all over to find her perfect gifts--being a new husband, I wanted every gift to speak volumes of my love and comitment to her. I remember going to Victoria's Secret and spending an hour with the girl who worked there, testing the fragrences to find the exact one she used and then buying just about the entire line of it for her. During the divorce process, I went to the mall and walked past a Victoria's Secret store...and smelled the fragrence. Memories washed over me and I felt panicked, upset, heartbreaken, mad and shattered all at the same time. I had to remember this when I would get impatient with my mom because we needed to load the truck. If I had that reaction for something that was a drop in the bucket compared to lifetime with her parents...

So, we got it all moved and everything is here. A lot of it's in boxes.

But right now, I find myself thinking a lot about my grandparents...all the memories. My grandfather is doing OK. We go from crisis to crisis with him. Yesterday he went on a trip to the ER as he fell and cut his arm. My sister was nearby and took him. I had visions of him breaking his hip, which thank the Lord didn't happen. Today he was doing well, when I saw him. The Dish confuses him a bit...he needs two remotes to work the TV now and he was having a hard enough time with one. I've said before it's hard to see the man I remember as vibrant and full of life now reduced to little more than existing. But I do see his eyes light up a bit when we come to visit him and you should see the delight he takes in his great-grandkids coming by for a hello. I realize that every day with him here is a blessing and while I have some of his things to be part of my house at some point, I am blessed even more by the love I knew growing up from all of my grandparents. And the great memories I have of them all.

posted by Michael Hickerson at 11/06/2005 06:37:00 PM | |
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