Grandpa lived in a muckledunberry world ‘cuz he was colorblind. Mostly all he saw were different shades of yellowy-browns. That’s why he called it muckledunberry. It’s not a real color. You won’t find a muckledunberry crayon anywhere. Not even in the biggest box they make. I know, ‘cuz I looked.
Sometimes I’d sit on his lap while he watched baseball. I’d ask him, “Grandpa, what color are my eyes?”
He’d say, “Muckledunberry.” Then he’d steal my nose. I’d just giggle even though I was getting too old for that joke.
Grandpa liked to grow a garden but he needed help with the picking. He couldn’t tell the color of tomatoes or watermelons. He didn’t know when his grass needed watered. If the neighbors turned their sprinklers on, he would too.
On the way to town he’d stop at the single blinking yellow light at the bottom of the hill. I’d say, “You can keep going, Grandpa, its yellow. Blinking yellow means go very carefully.”
“All lights look the same to me, Sweetie. I have to stop at all of them just to be sure.”
I gave up. I couldn’t convince him to roll on through the intersection.
Last year Grandpa got sick. Mom said he got cancer in his pancreas. She said I couldn’t climb around on his lap anymore ‘cuz it might hurt him. Grandpa would never tell me that so I’d sit at his feet and lean my back against his chair. He’d pat my head and run his fingers through my summer-blonde hair. Sometimes he’d scoot over and let me sit in the chair with him and we’d cuddle. I’d always be real careful. He sure got quiet after he caught cancer.
After a few months, his skin wasn’t normal. Mom called it jaundice. Not too long after that his eyeballs weren’t white anymore. They were sad and matched the color of his skin. He tried to smile, but I knew he didn’t feel like smilin’ too much.
When I realized how sick Grandpa was I asked Mom, “Does Grandpa know his eyes are yellow now, bein’ he’s color blind and all?” Mom said she didn’t know but told me not to ask him.
Grandpa got so bad he had to go to the hospital. My sister went to see him and asked him if he had Jesus in his heart. She prayed with him and he seemed happier even though he got sicker. A few days later he died.
I got a new dress for Grandpa’s funeral. Mom let me choose what I wanted. I spun around and watched myself in the mirror. It’s bright yellow with pink flowers and tiny green leaves along the hem-line. I especially like the satin sash and how Mom tied it into a perfect bow in back. It makes my tan look dark and the gold flecks in my hazel eyes sparkle when I wear it. I thought Grandpa would like it. That’s why I picked it.
I stuck out among my family in the front row of the church. Everyone else dressed in dull colors. My feet didn’t quite touch the ground, so I swung my legs back and forth admiring my new sandals on the upswing.
People were sad and I heard a lot of nose blowing goin’ on. We sang hymns. I don’t know why. It wasn’t Sunday. Some people stood and took turns saying nice things about my grandpa. They told funny stories and reminded us what a hard worker he was.
I wish Grandpa didn’t die, but I learned in Sunday school that when we go to heaven we aren’t sick any more. That means Grandpa’s cancer is all gone now. I believe his colorblindness is, too. Today Grandpa is walking on the streets of gold. I think that’s pretty cool.
After the funeral dinner while everyone sat around and talked, I went outside. I looked up in the sky and talked to God. I asked if He’d let Grandpa look down at me. I wanted him to see me in full color. I spun around and made my dress poof out until I got dizzy and fell on the grass.
I laid there until the sky quit spinning and closed my eyes. I whispered, “Grandpa, do you like my new dress?” I waited but didn’t hear anything. Tears trickled into my ears. “What color are my eyes?”
I heard a whisper in my heart, “Hazel with gold flecks. That’s muckledunberry. Got your nose.”
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