Moments in Time

If you’ve wondered where I’ve been, I’ve been trolling through the card catalog of my mind. A place where rampant thoughts stream across a galaxy of intertwined memories that sometimes have to be hunted for. A place where familiar trails lead to memories not forgotten. Trails of moment’s in time that were not lost but are now worn deep from the walk back and forth to be found. These moments have just been waiting to be remembered, bursting forth as if to say, “tell this today”, making one smile for the gift of memories picked up from the lost and found.  I have several childhood marbles, different colors, all bearing the finger prints of the boys that lost them to me. I see my grandmother’s eyes magnified and distorted as she looks at me through thin rimmed glasses from another era, knowing now, with those glasses she saw me and looked at many things and people through those “windows to the soul” as people call their eyes. I have the knife my dad gave me in sooner years than today that has hardly been opened since his passing. Remembering him telling me that all boys needed a pocket knife for whittling and skinning fish. Remembering those hot summer days, much like today when my dad would take out the clippers and cut all of us boys hair. He never delivered the cut we might have wanted, but then again, he only knew one style for boys in the summer and that was to buzz them off. If I stop and close my eyes, it all becomes real again. I can feel the coolness of the glass marbles between my thumb and forefinger as I attempt to knock my friends marble out of the circle drawn in the dirt with a stick. I can feel the warmth from my grandmother’s body as she sits next to me, holding me with her frail hands, feeling them unnoticeable tremble as they held mine. I can feel my father’s thick fingers and heavy hand with a comb as he burrs the tow-headed hair from my head, hearing the clicking sound of scissors and the clippers all in my mind as I sit in a metal chair in the shade of our yard, with brothers waiting to be next. In the background I can hear the squawks of the chickens and the life of creatures all around that made life real and meaningful. Memories tucked away, bringing joy as I see the faces of near shock on my brother’s bald heads. It is a smile indeed now, more of a chuckle I suppose, seeing the awkward actions we all made in madness from not being in control. What a magnificent tool we carry around. It is with us always. It is now a tattered and worn old suitcase, becoming heavier with every passing year as thoughts and time are pressed and placed inside.

Copyright (Charles D. Grant)


The Prettiest Girl in the World

Growing up was met with special disabilities in many areas of mine and my sibling’s lives. Someone recently told me I could write about my mother all I want, so I will again today. From the eyes of a little boy, she was the most beautiful girl in the world. In 1945 my mom met my father and married. The next year, they were blessed with twin girls. There have been times when men of my dad’s age would tell me that my mother was one of the most beautiful women ever to hit the streets of our town and they didn’t know how my father ever caught her. There is a chuckle in my mind as I remember the elderly gentleman telling me this story. He said, “there were five of us boys that ran together and he was the ugliest one of us all and he ended up with the prettiest girl”. My dad passed away in 1989. My mother was 63. She never once looked at another man and never dated anyone else. When asked why, she would sheepishly grin and say, “I don’t want to raise another baby”.  As the marriage was underway and baby after baby came, life settled in and struggles became their routine. Unfortunately, the routine had changed my mother. You see, my mother began to have delusions. Some of them were of grandeur and others  were slight, with voices she didn’t understand and had no intention of playing part in their list of charades. I never remember my mother being that gregarious woman the twins and my mother’s sisters speak of, the one that easily made decisions and was the first to volunteer. I remember many fun times and many times of grief. I am sure as years progressed, for better or worst as the vows say, my mom grew worse in mind and spirit, surely causing my dad to drink more. Knowing what I know now as an adult, it was probably the only way he had to cope with someone he thought had changed, a different woman than he married. Even so, that doesn’t make it right. This is the progression of the disease schizophrenia. If one could be blessed in the disease, we were. She never lost her graciousness and kindness. Many years after hearing stories, I thought it was my fault that mom was the way she was. As a child, I was not equipped with the understanding of any disease process, much less that schizophrenia had peaks and valleys.  Even though a little older than usual, my mom became afflicted soon after I was born. As I understand, immediately after I was born. Mentally, mother had no coping skills for the monster that had invaded her mind.  My grandmother and grandfather took many a night with me and took me home with them often. These are stories I have been told from my aunt Audrey and Aunt Dora who are no longer around to tell the story. I suppose this is why I had such a grateful heart for my grandparents. The one strange anomaly in my life is that in 1993 when my grandmother died at age 93, I have no recollection of her passing or being at her funeral. I have been to dozens of funerals throughout my life, but hers is a complete blank. I know I was there, my wife tells me I was. There is a reason, not yet figured out why this loss of time has not made itself known. As mom became better, I stayed home more, and soon mother found herself pregnant again and twice more after that. At times, she was a shell of a woman, thin and frail. It is at this time I have told the story of my sisters being our teachers. After the 1989’s death of my father, there were many months one of us kids would stay the night with my mom. After several months, mom said she was ready to stay alone. As time continued by, my mother continued to improve. Her life became a real life, one of smiles and endearment for family and her sisters. It was like a remembrance had been shown to her that had long been hidden in the weak, darkness of her mind. For over 21 years mother improved and was able to live alone, not having that fear of the unknown that included my father, even though she missed him forever, and desperately. He was spoken of often with tenderness of heart and tears of memories of the past. Her sisters would come to visit, meals were laid out, laughter was present, and her green eyes glittered with joy. No, she was not completely healed, because even though we know my dad had a large part to play in much of her madness, he also played an even larger part in her learning to love. My mother was all love. At the end, we were once again blessed with the prettiest girl in the world.

Copyright (Charles D. Grant)