I have been thinking a lot about my grandparents lately. Grandpa's health, physical and mental, is beginning to fail and since they are in my prayers, they are in my thoughts. When I was very little, we lived on their property only a minutes walk away. I remember the walk. I remember the house with the slightly slanted kitchen floor, the dark room where my cousins said the previous owner died, and the cupboard where grandma kept the marshmallow cream that she spooned out for me when no one was around. I remember grandpa working in his old shop and tinkering with old cars and old tools and his voice ringing with a mixture of fussing and gospel songs. I remember playing Slap Jack with grandma and usually winning. I remember sitting in a long line of cousins in their hallway on Christmas Eve enjoying our new Barbies and 64 count crayons. I remember catching lightening bugs and putting them in jars until bed time. I remember basketball games, crossing the rickety bridge, looking for crawdads in the creek, grandma's cornbread and milk, the school bus stop, the hills, the tadpoles, the flowers, the warm feeling I felt in the chaos that was family dinners, watching for rattlesnakes, the smell of Irish Spring in the bathroom, sitting on the front porch playing "guess the color of the next car that drives by," and my grandpa saying after he burps, "Not bad manners, just good eatin'". They watch Wheel of Fortune every night and every night grandpa questions whether or not they actually need Vanna White to turn the letters. I remember one night grandma rolling her eyes and whispering to me, "He says that every night."
When I was older and we moved away, the visits to my grandparents house became yearly events instead of daily. I grew and they grew and I felt like I didn't really know them. So one visit I decided to find out more about them. I watched them closely to try to get a sense of who they are. And I asked questions. I asked my grandpa how he met grandma. Instantly his eyes lit up and he told me the story about walking into a drugstore and seeing the most beautiful girl he had ever seen behind the counter. Since then they have been married for close to sixty years and have seven children and lots of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
One thing that I do know about my grandparents, even though I don't see them often, is that they love their family. They love all of us regardless of where we live or how often they see us. And because of that love, whenever we leave, grandpa won't say goodbye. He'll only say, "see you later," because he knows, one way or another, he will.