The Locust Bloom

Looking down the old dirt road at what used to be, I see furrowed rows where now mesquite trees have once again claimed their place. There are small drifts of sand, piled in swirls around fence posts, resembling what the wind must look like as it curves and turns around what it owns. They are made from the spring wind and unrelenting lack of rainfall as mother nature blows her breath. Tufts of dried grass can be seen bowing to the wind, brown and blending in with the elements, it’s master. The skies are clear, a magnificent blue, much like clear ocean water contrasting the irony of nature. What is known from what appears as desolate at times, this sandy place is home. It is an acquired taste to find the beauty in often barren times, but when the elements come together, it is quite beautiful. One accruing years of age can remember what our city used to be, what it held and what memories were made, the amenities it offered and the times the younger generation can only imagine. They will only learn what we already know through our telling the story, because time is moving too fast for them to stop and smell the locust blooms. Age in itself has its ways of causing visions of the past to appear. It is unforgiving, with a clock that suddenly begins to tick a little faster with every passing day. Some days hurry by with just a glimpse of sunshine before the dark falls again. The lonely locust trees are blooming. The ones that I long to smell each spring, the very ones I took my son to smell today, the very ones I smelled yesteryear. Sadly, their presence is becoming less and less as through the years they have also aged and began to fall by the wayside. Adding to the elements, consider the unexpected burst of cold that folds the newly budded blossom, causing them to wither and fall. Against natures odds, the blossoms are few and studded with thorns, yet their fragrance is astounding as they set there waiting to be noticed as part of the beauty of a barren landscape. Lest we forget we are still alive, take time to smell the locust blooms. For just a few short days from now, mother nature will claim their petals, making us wait for another revolution around the sun for their return.

Copyright (Charles D. Grant)


A Story of Their Own

I was recently asked if I liked writing about my life. I answered in a quick “yes”. I do like writing about my life, because not only is it therapeutic for me, I know there is someone out there that relates to much of what I write about. Is it always easy to write about memories and nostalgia? No, not always. Sometimes when you leave your life on the table like I do, it brings back other memories that are not always welcome, and probably leaves the reader wondering if that really happened or was that really true. I never want it to come across to the reader as just a story. As a very good friend told me, “you write from your heart”. That was an amazing compliment, because it is true. There are many laughs, good times and yet sorrow within all of us, despite what turn of events caused one life to seem harder or better than the other. Life would not be real without these adversities of life and the things I have seen and felt. Many new thoughts and memories have bloomed and continue to grow, for the good. Some of the life’s events I put on paper are written through streaming tears. Others, are written through turned up lips, morphing into laughs. Laughs like the time my childhood friend Cyndi and I would chew grandmas sugar cane and without her knowing it, spit it down her cistern. Yes, the same cistern on her screened in back porch I saw her draw water from so many times. Cyndi, when you read this, you will remember, I know you. Cyndi is my life’s longest friend. She lived next door to my grandmother when we were so, so young. She lives in south Texas now, with her beautiful family. We do not see one another often in our adult years, life gets in the way. But, when I do see her, it is like yesteryear. We never have a loss for words. We are still that little boy and girl from the past, best friends. I thank Cyndi for being in my life as a child, she never judged and was always, always my friend, and I think she knows how important she was to me, and how the void she filled was never taken for granted. It seems as if when we were together we could get in to a lot of things we shouldn’t, like the time grandma caught us playing in her bathtub. Anyone who knew my grandma, knew she wasn’t about boys and girls being in the tub together, even though we were only 4 or 5 years old. Moving forward, living at the farm I remember Rodney standing on the back of someone’s car, I’m not sure whose it was, but they began to drive, and Rodney fell off and hit his head, he slept for hours. Not knowing then what happened, we know today that he must have had a severe concussion, for he slept and slept after that. The time Buddy and I were sitting on the tail gate of daddy’s station wagon while he was pulling an old flat bed trailer with iron wheels up the road, hit a bump, knocked Buddy off and ran over him with the iron wheels. Thank God it was sandy soil and he was resilient. The time Randy got his arm hung in the electric ringer at the “washeteria” as my mother called the laundry. He put his hand in it and it ran is arm up past his elbow. He was swollen for days. The laughs Cindy would give us when she would try to feed her doll real food. I think she still has that old doll. The sadness we felt when my dad would fight with Kenny and Johnny, literally. The times the twins would lock us out of their room and turn their little, lunch box sized record player up high, it’s little speaker unable to handle the noise it made. Their door didn’t have a lock on it, so they got a small block of wood and with a single nail, nailed it to where they could turn it and keep their door shut. The time my mother opened the cabinet door at the farm and a bull snake fell out of it. The time my dad blew up the pressure cooker, got burned, jars busted, glass went everywhere and whatever he was canning went all over the ceiling. The times my twin sisters began having their own children. All these people played a role in making my memoir of memories. Memories that cascade over one another, making a story of their own, closing and reopening chapters of my life.

Copyright (Charles D. Grant)

Out of the Darkness

As I look back on yesteryears passed, I am beginning to see the tell of time. Not in vanity, but in realness the hands on the clock repeat. As the clock ticks forward, the age spots begin to appear on my own hands and the laugh lines get a little deeper. Time is no longer standing still as it once did, in that time that was forever. Memories become close friends and are easily welcomed. Without memories, we have no visitor of the past, good or bad. When we remember, we are alive seeing choices and scenes that can’t be changed. Those memories are important to me, for with them, I am never lonely. Remembering running down the riverbank, barefooted with a cane pole, a short string, and a hook. Flying that box kite my daddy made with such passion for me. Being sprayed by the water hose on a hot day. Playing with match boxes with rubber-bands and match sticks for wheels. Spitballs and straws, and the flavor of cocoa when its cold outside. Getting haircuts with hot lather on the neck while Mr. Givens used his hand massager on your head. Catching popcorn in your mouth. Playing with your favorite toy while consoling a sibling after surgery. Being old enough to remember parts of many generations and seeing more changes than only the ones older than myself have seen. Remembering manual typing class to an iPhone. Watching the sun as it goes down in the fall, instantly feeling the temperature go down as if it is attached to the sun. Seeing at night with a moon that is bright enough not to be afraid. All the while the time in between each memory has its own tale to tell. Playing with baby chickens, pigs and the softest of kittens. Playing baseball and throwing a Frisbee. Being first in a game called turn down because you knew the periodic table better than anyone in class. Leaving home and being scared to death, not just for yourself, but for the ones left behind. Tasting KFC for the first time, awesome! Random thoughts in real time, like now that make complete sense, but run together in a torrent of chaos. Seeing the beauty in dust-devils and horny toads. Pulling cockle burrs out of your clothes while watching the locust plant bloom in the summer. That annoying snore from your dad you wish you could hear one more time or that piece of “candy cake” that will never taste the same. All this to say that life is full of beauty, even if you have to look for it. There is too much grace abounding to dwell on the saddened heart and too much time to make memories that make one happy. The day I met Timberly and fell in love. The time she turned me down for a first date, but the time she didn’t 😊. The trials and triumphs in having children. Ken who came early after months of bed-rest. Remembering our beautiful daughter Timye DeAn in heaven and the glorious day they said Alex would live after getting down to 1 pound 15 ounces. What miracles I’ve witnessed. What blessings I’ve been given and what wondrous people have walked before me. You see, every memory can’t have a silver lining, but many, many can move you out of the darkness.

Copyright (Charles D. Grant)