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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Weary (05/03/12)

TITLE: Grandpa
By Margo McKenzie


He was the biggest man I had ever known and the most loving too. He statuesquely carried about two hundred and fifty pounds on his six foot two inch frame. He used to take my sisters and me on outings to Riverside Park, and I would have to run to keep up with his long strides. At Palisades Park, he would buy me as many bags of popcorn as I requested. Whenever he sang "Sing a Song of Sixpence," I always anticipated the last line with joy because at the "When down came a black bird and pecked off her nose" line, he would gently pinch mine. His exuberance provided the laughter of my life.

In church, he could belt out ''What a friend we have in Jesus . . ." clenching his right fist and moving rhythmically his arm with the beat of the song to show the intensity of his convictions. Jesus was a special friend to him; I knew then that I wanted to meet Him some day.

In later years, his base voice would be reduced to an emphysemic rasp. When he walked in the kitchen, the slow swishing sound of slipper against tile had replaced the vibrant strides I had known as a child. Ninety two years of living had taken its toll on the strength of his legs, his heart and his lungs, but had never stopped him from telling us the stories of his youth: his years building the Panama Canal; working at the post office, walking off the job and then returning the following Monday, clocking in with his timecard and the boss asking him why he was back, and he merely responding, "I've decided to reconsider" and going back to business as usual.

Though he walked around with a transportable oxygen tank, he owned the stories that he told on borrowed air. The tale about his encounter with Jesus always kept us enrapt the most. "I was working in the sugarcane fields in Barbados, and this man stopped by in the heat of the day telling the workers 'I want to tell you about a man that sticks closer than a brother.' Those words grabbed me by the collar. You know I lost my only brother two years earlier. I had been working in the field for six hours, but I knew I needed to hear what this man had to say. He opened a black Bible with frayed edges, and verse by verse, he showed me why I needed Jesus and how to make Him a part of my life."

Grandpa would tell the whole story stopping at intervals to catch his breath but that broad smile and enthusiasm never left him. If he could, he would have stood up to finish his storytelling because his sprit sure was willing, but ninety-two years of living had wearied his weakened flesh.

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This article has been read 337 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Norma-Anne Hough05/11/12
Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories with us of a much loved grandfather.
Brought back happy memories for me of mine.
I liked your style.
He must have led a very full and interesting life and I find it quite amazing that in spite of his ailment, he still kept going.
Good read with wonderful imagery.
C D Swanson 05/12/12
Awwww. This touched me so much. I loved my grandpa too! You did a wonderful job detailing your interactions, while describing your grandpa. He seemed so full of life and love. Thank God for him and the memories you keep in your heart, until you meet him again in paradise.

Thank you for this moving tribute to a special man.

God Bless,

Tracey Brown05/13/12
Very sweet and touching. It reminds me of my uncle, who was more like a grandpa to me and also suffered with emphysema. A wonderful tribute!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/13/12
This is a lovely tribute to a wonderful man. Not being able to catch your breath wears you down in so many ways. I enjoyed this sweet piece.