Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day Four

I woke up at about 5:30 am and went outside, loaded the wood-stove, and wandered around the farm to find the perfect spot to watch the sunrise.  Have you ever just sat and watched the sunrise?  My life is far to busy to facilitate a sunrise break everyday, but I try to enjoy the moment every once in a while.  This particular morning made me a little teary eyed.  I had forgotten how incredible it was with pure white snow all around.  I was standing with a clear mind, gazing to the east and listening to the sweet whisper of the breeze.  Slowly, the birds started to sing, a single squirrel bounced along the fence line, and the sky broke into a fiery splash of yellow and orange.  The soundtrack in my mind started playing "Still they ride" by Journey, and the dark gray of night was transformed into a powder blue and perfect cotton ball white.  I don't know why the emotion hit me, but I stood there a good 15 minutes, on the verge of tears, but happy and not sad at all.  I guess it was one of those moments, that was just mine, and mine alone.  A sunrise just for me.

A slow trek back to the house and I started breakfast.  I started to boil some eggs, made some "soy" sausage, put in some toast, poured some OJ, got out some Activa and Ensure for Grandpa and the mood was set.  Grandpa came out and we ate together.  We did not say much, but the gleam in his eye was enough for me to know he was happy.  I rinsed my plate, took his and asked "care to go outside today?"

You see, Grandpa had been banned to the house because of a fall he took on the ice.  No one wanted to see him get hurt, so it was decided he was not allowed out.  For Grandpa, that was simply torture.

"Certainly" was his reply!  A moment later Uncle Mark pulled in the drive, and was in the kitchen shortly after.  I told Mark that Harley was going outside this morning (not leaving room for any kind of argument)!  "I think it is about time we get him out there again" was Marks welcome reply.  Grandpa had a few things to do to prepare and told us to come back in a little while and he would be ready.

Mark and I started the chores with an excitement in our steps.  It was like our best friend had been sent to his room and could not come out for a long time, and today was his release from solitary!  We hurried through our chores, and just as we about finished Grandpa came stepping out from around the barn!  He had is cane and no-slip boots on, slowly making his way to the shop.  I knew he waited for us to leave so he could get out on his own.  I also knew that he did not want me to help him get to the shop.  Mark knew this as well.  We finished our chores with one eye on our work, and the other locked dead center on Grandpa.  He opened the door to the shop and stepped in without incident.  

The shop, above, used to be "The old hog house".  It was always a nursery for birthing mothers and little piglets.  I remember, once when I was little, a very large storm came rolling over the valley during tornado season.  Grandpa had gone out into the vicious winds to check on a sow that was a first time mother.  He walked in, shut the door behind him, and bright bolt of lightning struck the rod.  I was all but 5 years old staring out the kitchen window in shock.  A thin veil of swirling black smoke lifted from the door and was yanked away by the rushing breeze.  I could not move, I could not speak, I could not contemplate my Grandpa being taken from me.  I prayed to God to take my prized giant stuffed mouse "Snuffles", but to leave Grandpa.  One second later, Grandpa opened the door and came walking back to the house.  The lightning rod sent the electricity straight into the earth and not into my Grandpa!  Oh, and I got to keep "Snuffles" too!  Thank you God!

The shop of today is a far cry from when I was small.  It has been renovated.  It is insulated, heated, has a fridge, a microwave, a stereo and a bathroom.  It is now Grandpa's office and home away from home.  

Sorry for the diversion there, but back to the main topic.  With Grandpa safely in the shop, there was no worry.  We were all done with chores and wondered on over to warm up with Grandpa.  I walked in, was handed a bottle, and we did a few rounds of shots (now just you never mind that it was not even 8:30 am!!!!  Isn't whiskey a breakfast food?).  Grandpa introduced me to his kitty friends, and proceeded to define the history each held.  "Goof" was the favorite by far, and was all over him.  Grandpa was sitting in a chair along the wall, and that cat could not get close enough to him.  She was rubbing her face all over his, and purring so loud it was like a chainsaw.  When she settled down and curled up on his lap, he explained how they had become friends.  When "Goof" was just a kitten, Grandpa would talk to her.  She was completely tame and would follow him around like a dog.  As she grew, Grandpa found she would be waiting for him in the morning when he came outside.  She was always with him.  Then one morning, she brought her new boyfriend over for a visit.  Grandpa said "Hell, what could I do?  I gave my blessing and off they ran to the barn!"  However he wants to remember it, "Goof" did have kittens shortly after, and in the shop under his chair!  So now, she had brought her little ones to hang out with Grandpa too!  All was well until one day when a neighbor brought over his dog.  Said dog did not know what he was getting into when he entered the shop, but he did not stay long to study it, that's for sure!  Mark said "the dog went in, and then came out full bore with "Goof" on his neck!  Had she had a bigger mouth, she would have torn out his jugular vein!!"  Suffice it to say, "Goof" was not having any uninvited visitors in her shop!  With a historic turn in ownership, "Goof" allows Grandpa to bring his "people" friends in as long as they play nice with her friends.  It is quite a show, she even sits in Grandpa's chair like it is her thrown!  I gave her some jerky, and was given permission to stay.

Grandpa made it out there three times that day!  I am still not sure how much whiskey we went through, but it was a good day!

That night, my cousin Nate came over to watch "wrestling" with Grandpa.  Nate is a damn good kid.  He and I share a very similar relationship with Mark and Grandpa both.  I respect and appreciate him very much.  Anyway, Nate and his lovely girlfriend come over to watch wrestling with Grandpa every week.  They make him dinner and keep him company while the mayhem in the "ring" reigns supreme on the T.V.  I myself went to my brothers house for supper as Grandpa was obviously well taken care of.

My Brother Mike is a great cook.  He made manicotti, asparagus, salad, bread and oh yes "lemon-aide pie".  He said he did not know what to make with me being a vegetarian, but I think he did pretty damn good.  I almost had to roll off the chair to move to the living-room!  It was a good night, I got to play Wii with my nephew, and had some good conversations with my brother and his wife Angela.  Angela and I have not really had a lot of time to talk, but we got a good start that night.  She is incredibly smart, and I thought it would be a little daunting for me, but she was very gracious and quite funny.  I had a good time with them.  They have a warm, loving home.  I felt at ease (well until my brother started talking about our parents......)

Just before 10 I left to go back to Grandpa's.  It was snowing slightly, with a soft breeze from the west.  It would have been a nice drive, had it not been so gosh darn cold!!!  Like Grandpa says "It was darker then a well diggers ass and colder then a witches tit!"  Now that is cold!

Back at the house, Grandpa and I sat up a while, with a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of gin.  To this day, I swear, someone else was there drinking too!  Regardless, I was completely sober when I woke up just after 3:00 am, to what sounded like voices.  I thought there had been a radio on upstairs, and went up to check.  No radio on up there.  No television left on, and nothing going on in the basement.  I thought it must just be in my head.  Well, at least until the next morning when Grandpa told me about his evening...... 


Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. January 27, 2009 at 12:43 PM  

Predo~You are such a good writer! I am so enjoying these Grandpa stories. It almost feels like I was there with you!

Living on the Spit January 27, 2009 at 4:08 PM  

I can't not wait for tomorrow and find out what Grandpa was up to!!!

You just left me hanging Dude! Okay, that pays me back for the pound cake photo. There, I said cake...cake, cake, cake.

I just love Grandpa!

Love you sweetheart!


The Incredible Woody January 27, 2009 at 5:26 PM  

Whiskey at 8:30am - I knew I loved Grandpa!!

(Sometimes!) Serendipitous Girl January 27, 2009 at 5:31 PM  

I LOVE this story! When's the next installment, SUCH A CLIFFHANGER!

(And Grandpa is awesome! As are YOU!)

Big Hair Envy January 27, 2009 at 6:52 PM  

I can't believe you left me hanging like that. I think you owe me a Lemonade Pie....or, at least the recipe:)

My Metabolic Rate is Stuck January 28, 2009 at 8:58 AM  

First visit....
LOVE your writing...
LOVE your Grandpa!!
I've Got to add you to my list...
I want to KNOW MORE!!!

HalfAsstic.com January 28, 2009 at 2:35 PM  

Are you kidding me! Just leave me hangin' like that?! Tell me true, was grandpa "entertainin" up there?

belladella January 29, 2009 at 7:50 AM  

It is so much fun to be a part of your trip like this....your stories are wonderful. I can't wait to read more.

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