The pear trees in our Grand-pop’s side yard were a shady spot for the three of us sisters to sit. Our conversation was harmless enough, at first. We were unaware that “The tongue ... is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8 (KJV)
Fourteen-year-old Jan was talking as we plopped down. “This house is so much more interesting then ours,” she said..
“Yea, I like the living room - it’s always nice and dark,” twelve-year-old Lizzy added. She continued, “And the furniture is real old-fashioned, but it’s not worn or messed up like ours at home.”
Happy to be included (if only because our parents wanted them to watch me), I said, “I like the fish tanks!” My ten-year-old mind wandered to those aquariums situated near the entryway to the enclosed porch. I thought of the little fish that I loved to watch, darting around in the bubbling water.
My sisters continued to talk and I heard them mention the big, dark colored, possibly mahogany, dining room furniture.
Jan said, “That set’s got to be antique. Antiques are worth so much money!”
“Daddy says Grand-pop has more money than the he knows what to do with. He’s rich.” Lizzy stated..
‘Wow’, I thought, somebody rich in our family! And how nice that it’s Grand-pop.
He was one of my favorite relatives because he always noticed me. He was a thoughtful, intelligent and somewhat proud man. Though we didn’t get to see him very often, he and I had developed a special relationship. From the time he found out that I liked to read, he’d taken an interest in me and what I read. Ours was a relationship of shared smiles and quiet conversations.
“I like Grand-pop’s bedroom,” I spoke up.
My sisters looked at me disdainfully.
“What’s so special about that?” Lizzy asked.
“It reminds me of him,” I said. “It’s bright with sunlight and it’s quiet enough that you can always hear his big alarm clock ticking. And it always smells like 'Cashmere Bouquet'.”
“'Cashmere Bouquet’ is for ladies.” Jan brushed me off.
“This place is worth so much money,” Lizzy said. “And since Mom’s his only child,”
“Step-child” Jan corrected.
“Yea, whatever, she’s still the only one - When Grand-pop dies, it’s all going to be ours!” Lizzy exclaimed.
I might have said something stupid at that point except that from where I was sitting I could see the side door of the house. At that moment I saw that our Grand-pop was standing outside the door looking at us.
His eyes were full of hurt and I was so ashamed. He said nothing.
I wish I could have run to him, but I sat as if frozen, just looking at those hurt-filled eyes. I wanted to sink into the ground.
It took years to mend that relationship, and it was never completely the same, but I’m so glad the Lord gave us the time to work on it.
When Grand-pop did pass away, he left for me the complete works of one of his favorite writers.
Thank you, Grand-pop for all that you were and are to me. I wish you were here now and I wish I could take back that whole conversation. Truly, the tongue is an unruly evil.
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