The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Flashback Friday!

Once upon a time, Superfiancee' was a wee little thang. Oh, she was still clever and funny, and had the prettiest curly brown hair evah! Even then. And so, of course, everyone loved her.

As the eldest grandchild (on both sides of the family, to boot!), she was adored and cherished long before those other rotten grandkids had the audacity to show up. Which was, of course, as it should have been. Hmph! Fucking interlopers cutting in on MY oh, so sweet arrangement! The nerve, I tell you!

Luckily, though, SF was (and continues to be, btw) truly adorable. Enough so that she was able to maintain a very special relationship with all her grandparents. Even through many, many more grandchildren/SF wannabes.

Now this particular Flashback Friday! happened when SF was in kindergarten. So the memories are a little fuzzy. However, this is pretty much exactly how it happened.

For the most part.

More or less.

Our tale begins on a beautiful, warm, spring afternoon and SF's parents had opted to take a drive out to the country to visit SF's paternal grandparents. Yes, yes, they took SF's little sister along, too. (Sheesh, couldn't go ANYwhere without the little sister.)

The sun was shining and the trees were just beginning to "leaf out" after a long, cold winter, and SF was muchly looking forward to spending a good deal of quality time being spoiled by her grandparents and maybe even playing in the woods at the back of their property. Both activities which she greatly enjoyed.

Grandma was making chicken and dumplings when SF's family got there. She always made chicken and dumplings for them. (That's why SF has been burnt out on chicken and dumplings for the last twenty years, btw.) They were pretty yummy, though.

After a lovely visit, in which SF sang and danced while her grandparents clapped and threw roses at her feet (or something like that), her father grew angry with her. Likely, it was because he was jealous that SF was becoming more beloved to his parents than even he, their eldest son, was. Of that, I'm not sure. It's possible that SF may have inadvertently done something else...however unlikely that may seem. The point is, though, that angry he was.

SF's father is a big teddybear now (having mellowed considerably in his advanced youth), but in those days, he had all the panache (and stature) of a marine drill Sergeant...and none of the cool clothes.

SF was not normally scared of her father, but on this particular occasion she was. She slipped outside before he had a chance to see. And as she eased off the back porch steps, watching carefully to see if he was following her, she felt someone's hand grasp hers from behind. It was a little startling, but she turned to see the trusted face of her grandfather.

With his free hand, he gestured to her to keep quiet and then to come with him. And they awayed into the wood. Stealing, quietly, deeper and deeper into the wood, SF found that she was no longer scared at all. She found that she felt completely free and safe. Surely her father would not defy the grandfather! Even if he did ever find them.

When they came to a massive felled tree, the grandfather crouched down behind it with her. They stayed there for a very long time. Whispering about the animals that lived in the woods, and living in the country vs. the city, about the grandfather's vegetable garden, about how sometimes mommies and daddies get angry, about how my grandfather had gotten angry a time or two himself (he chuckled when he remembered that, and had to catch himself before he made too much noise). They talked about little sisters and bikes and friends and starting school and Christmas coming and why there weren't very many bugs in the woods yet and...well...a million other things. All the while whispering and still crouched down behind the big tree.

The grandfather, you see, was 6'6" and he couldn't really crouch as well as a six year old. But he did an admirable job for a grandpa, and SF was, rightfully, impressed. He stayed there with her for what felt like hours. Keeping her safe. Making her feel like the most special girl in the whole wide world. Knowing that her father would only be apt to yell at her, or paddle her bottom good, still the grandfather did not want the child to be afraid, and could not bear to see her spanked, or even to cry. The first grandchild that he so loved.

Eventually, the father, realizing that the grandfather was missing, too, and knowing that the grandfather adored SF, decided to quit looking for them. That he'd never be able to compete with the wise old man and the clever child! He yelled into the woods, "You can come out now! I'm not mad anymore! We need to get back to town."

At first SF thought it might be a trick (though it's possible that she just wanted to stay crouched behind the log whispering with her grandfather forever), but the old man took her hand and led her back out of the woods. All the while, telling her that she had nothing to fear.

So she didn't.

They walked out of the woods together and SF's father grinned at the grandfather and rolled his eyes. Then he tossled SF's hair and told her to get in the car. He didn't lose his temper at all (which was a shock to SF, I assure you). SF and her father never spoke of it again. SF wonders, sometimes, if he even remembers the incident at all.

But SF does.

And her grandfather did, too.

From time to time, they'd reminisce about him hiding with her in the woods behind that long ago house in Kendall, New York. In fact, when SF had daughters of her own, the grandfather would tell them the story of hiding their mother in the woods. It was one of the last laughs that SF and her grandfather had shared before he passed away nearly ten years ago. (Does that seem possible?!?!?)

The grandfather knew that SF's father just needed a little time to cool off. The grown-up SF did, too. But it never diminished the feeling of overwhelming love she got from hiding behind that fungus covered tree, her grandfather's giant hand holding hers, while he whispered to her about frogs and snails.

Sometimes, when life gets to be too much, she longs to do it again. To feel his hand grasping hers tightly and taking her somewhere quiet and safe to become lost in a moment all their own.

Even just one more time.

Have a good weekend, you guys! Mine is cram-packed with housework and wedding nonsense. And those of you who are experiencing some global warming issues, please send them here. Despite temps last week in the MID-80'S, this week it's been 30's and 40's!! I've had to pull coats and sweaters back out, and the weatherman said there's a chance of FLURRIES tonight into tomorrow.

And that ain't makin' me happy!

My girls won't be spending Easter with me and Highlander this year. It's the first time, ever, that I haven't had them for Easter. And that's a bit of a tough pill for me to swallow. However, we've made plans to have a little something waiting for them tomorrow morning when they awake. Kind of an Easter eve thing. It'll have to do, I guess. One more of the adjustments that have to be made in our situation.



Blogger AaA said...

It's damned cold here too. It's SPRING, Dammit!!

On a more serious note, you realize what would happen if a grandfather did something like that today, right?

4/06/2007 8:41 PM  
Blogger SuperFiancee said...

I'd try to one up you on the weather, but I hear you had snow, too! YES. I said "TOO"! The weather is supposed to be back up to a seasonal upper 60's lower 70's by the end of next week. I hope so!! (Btw, [Kid 3] came out of school today trying to catch snowflakes on her tongue and squealing "It's Spring, Mommy! It's SPRING!!"

My grandfather was one of the sweetest men I have ever known. But to share two very diverse stories about him...

The eldest of his 2 daughters (she was #8 of 9 children) had gone out drinking all night with some friends and got home, drunk, at 2AM. She was 16 a the time and my grandfather was not having it. I wasn't around to see it, but witness accounts indicate that she ran to her room and called the local police after having gotten a pretty bad ass-whooping from her father. When the police knocked on my grandparents' door at 3AM, and advised that a young woman had called to report a "child abuse" incident on the premises. My grandfather is credited with having responded to them that the accusation was correct and that they were welcome to come see another dose firsthand, as my aunt was going to get another ass-whooping for calling the police. The police declined. My aunt sorely regretted making the call. Very sorely.

Story #2 takes place when my grandfather was in the very end stages of terminal renal cancer. He was in nearly constant pain. My grandmother didn't like to give him morphine because it made him foggy headed and it scared her. He didn't ask for it. He suffered through. We suffered for him, and urged her to do otherwise. My younger sister was sitting at his bedside two days before he died, talking to him. He told her he just wanted to go. She told him it was all right. He asked what date it was. She told him July 26th. My grandfather replied that everyone probably expected him to be around for his birthday (which was the next day). My sister advised him that everyone would understand if he did what he had to do. He said he didn't want to disappoint his family. He died on the morning of July 28th. The day after his birthday.

As far as what would happen if a grandfather came between a father and his child and had a good enough relationship with the father in the first place, I don't imagine things would turn out any differently than they did then. But, I'll acknowledge that I may just be kidding myself.

I find I've been thinking about him all day today. He was very much common sense and no nonsense, but he was as generous and warm as he could be. He had a silly sense of humor and always had a story at the ready. I thought he hung the moon...if you couldn't tell...;) And I still miss him nearly every day.

4/06/2007 11:53 PM  
Blogger AaA said...

Your grandpa never hung the moon, mine did.

4/09/2007 10:20 AM  

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