Sunday, October 9, 2011
Late Night Treat
They think they have this secret code. He and my Daddy. Only it's not so secret. When they only want to talk to one another, man talk, they call each others cell phone. Because they know, no one else is going to answer it. They're not going to be forced to make nice social talk with anyone else, in order to get to, who they really called for. The man talk begins as I scuffle my feet to make the glider move with ease and grace.
At some point the subject turns to drinking. Alcohol. Which is strange, because neither my Daddy nor Mims drink anything alcohol related anymore. My ears are winding in and out of the words coming from Mims when I realize they are talking about my Granddaddy. And his nightly "treat".
Now to fully understand all of this story and how special the events are to me, you'll need to go back to the beginning of my blog and read the Butterfly stories. There are only a few. It's not like you have to buy a book to catch up. The blogs are free, and are a direct relation to this blog today. Makes everything come full circle, if you will. Or not. You can wing it and try and figure it out yourself.
A few years before my Granddaddy passed, I invited him to stay the weekend with me and my boys. I had already moved to Quincy, to the house out on Hwy 65. None of my grandparents had ever spent the night/weekend in any of my homes before so this was quite a deal for me. That and my relationship with my Granddaddy was probably the most unusual of them all.
He drove down on a Saturday. Joshua and Zach took him for the tour, showed him where he and Zach went to school. Joshua was not driving yet, so they of course came back with wild, funny stories of my Granddaddy's driving abilities. We all had a nice big dinner, we talked and laughed and remembered.
After dinner, the dishes all washed and the kitchen clean, we all retired to the front porch. It was a nice evening outside, perfect for front porch swinging and talking. My Granddaddy went to Josh's bedroom where he would be sleeping, went into his suitcase and got out his "treat" bottle. Every night, for as long as I could remember, he would have a small shot of whiskey as his nightly treat. Sometimes he would smoke his cigarette, sometimes not. Depending on the timing. If he was in a flux of "I'm not smoking anymore" or if he had succumbed to the old habit and he was. He would pour less than a quarter of his treat juice into the glass, three fingers I think they call it, sipping it slowly, waiting on the familiar warmth to fill his body. Sometimes he had a cold beer as his "chaser", but not always. But it was one shot, and one beer, no more.
My Granddaddy was in World War II. He was in the Navy and was injured before he came home. At some point during his treatment he became addicted to the pain medication. It delayed his return home by several months. I think he always knew, that he could become addicted again. Which was the very reason for the one shot, one beer and no more.
The talk on the glider last night brought flashes of memory crashing inside my head. Of my granddaddy, and how proud he was to see where we were, where me and the boys had moved. I can remember sitting on the swing that night, wondering if my MaMa was looking down at all of us. Looking down at her two great grandchildren, the youngest who she never knew at all before she left us. My Mims, who she never knew but would have been crazy about. And her husband, the man who loved her like he would never love another. Listening to us laugh and talk.
That weekend meant everything to me. It was a partial healing. A healing of what exactly, I'm not really sure. Two people who never really understood one another. Two people who loved one person as much as you could ever love anyone. And one person, me, who would realize too late, the different forms and measures that love presents itself.
My MaMa was a smart, smart woman. Full of compassion, love, patience and forgiveness. That she loved a man named James Ray Mount was enough for me. And that he loved her, and she married him, made him the luckiest man in the world.
MaMa and Granddaddy, we're all still here in Quincy, over here on Lowe Street. Joshua is in Tuscaloosa, but he and his Josh will be here next weekend. Get some rest. Because we have a weekend full of things to do. Football game on Friday night. Mama and Daddy will be here Sunday for dinner. We'd love for you to come. Let me know when you're here, show me a butterfly or two. Pull up a seat, and sit with us while we laugh, talk and shoot the breeze. Everything we are began with the two of you. Without you, there would be no us. We love you and thank you for bringing us to one another through your love. See you next weekend, come as you are, stay as long as you can.