Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)
TITLE: The Man on the Porch
By Elisa Galante
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He was a kind and gentle man, filled with years of wisdom that showed in the lines of his face. With a huge heart, and sparse hair, his steps seemed to get slower and slower with each passing year. Throughout those years, he taught so much about forgiveness in the examples he set and the love he showed his family.
Most days he would sit on his porch, watching the cars go by or waving to a neighbor taking a walk. If they knew him well, they’d go and sit with him a while and listen to his silly stories, some made up, some real. You’d hear the name George Kapufka, a name he came up with for some of his tales, then hear the laughter echo within the cement and wood planks of the porch. It wasn’t a huge porch, but it held so much, and gave even more.
Other times, he would sit alone, enjoying the fresh air, decapitating an ant here and there, perhaps to pass the hours, or just for the amusement. While he could be a little strange at times, he was still a man you loved to sit with, because you see, he was my grandfather.
They lived next door at the time, and I always looked forward to walking out the side door, seeing him sitting there and joining him to hear his latest tale. Perhaps I got my passion for writing fiction from him, but the greatest gift he passed on to me was love and forgiveness.
He was the kind of man that did all he could to take care of my grandmother. Most knew him from the local grocery store, where’d he’d go shopping, then back again the same day because grandma was always forgetting something. One day he spotted a squirrel in the driveway of his house, and instead of hitting the brakes, he hit the gas pedal. Grandpa was paying too much attention to the squirrel, and after damaging the back porch, his driving days were soon over.
Towards the end of his life, while my grandmother lay dying in the hospital, so excited to meet her Savior, I don’t think many of us realized the sadness going on within my grandfather’s heart. His health always seemed so strong, and so did his persona. He’d weathered a lot, and appeared to be just fine. Unexpectedly he had a stroke, surprising us all. It was only a matter of days before he passed on, leaving us and grandma behind before she joined him just four short months later.
We eventually moved to another town, and while my uncle and his family lived in grandpa’s house, the porch seemed empty without the man to fill it. The house was sold a few years later for someone else to fill.
Every once in a while, I drive by those houses that held so many years of good memories. I can still imagine him there, waving and telling stories, and it’s there I remember him, my grandfather, the man on the porch.
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