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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Grandpa's Stash


My Grandma may have been famous for her cooking, but Grandpa was famous for his hiding.  He loved See's candy and my Aunt would send him some every Christmas.... A big assorted box. When he got the treasure he would quickly stow it away where prying eyes could not see and chubby fingers could not touch. My Cousin and I would first try the sneaky route. We would look in his room and look in the pantry. When we both came up short we'd be left with flat out asking him if Aunt G had sent candy. He would always either smirk, or chuckle and he always delayed the answer. Finally after much skirting the issue he would tell us the secret place and we would scramble to select the one piece we were allowed. I always like "The Furry" ones. Reluctantly we would put the candy back simply to play the game again next year. Grandpa was a man of few words, at least to me. Grandma and Grandpa had a Zillion grandchildren which meant it was impossible for them to buy for everyone. It never bothered me that we didn't usually get gifts from them because just having them around was gift enough. But one memory does stand out and sits protectively on a self in my living room. Grandma seemed very feeble. I remember as a child, being suddenly alert if the phone rang during the middle of the night. Most often it was news telling us Grandma had been rushed to the hospital. Once when this happen I remember waiting in the lobby of the hospital for eternity, just me and my cousins. I was really young and bored, but I was being very well behaved as I sat on the stairs next to the gift shop and peered in the window. There were all kinds of little nic knacks that sparkled and glowed inside. There were toys and jewelry... all kinds of stuff. I remember Grandpa came down the stairs and asked if I'd like to go inside the gift shop with him to find me something. This was the one and only time I ever remember being singled out by him. He took me in the gift shop and said  "Why don't you pick yourself out something." I couldn't believe my ears!!!!  Looking back he was probably suggesting that I pick a candy bar, but no!! I saw my chance to hit pay dirt so Sister I was gonna make it count. I just looked up at him and he nodded toward the shelves.... "Go ahead, what would you like?" I looked behind the cash register and sitting on the shelf was a piggy bank. The bank was painted a white iridescent so it captured the colors around it. It had hand carved roses and hand painted eyes, nose and mouth. It was a smiley pretty piggy. I pointed to the pig, he had the lady get it down, wrap it up and he paid for it. To this day I treasure that little pig, not because of it's value, but because the memory of being singled out of many to be personally loved by one. I can guarantee you that many who grow up around their Grandparents may have more memories, but they could never have a more tender memory.  That one little gester made me feel like a  million dollars and let me know that Grandpa actually knew me by name. I suppose that's how I feel about God sometimes, I'm just one in a million, nothing special and then he'll call out to me by name and I know..... I know that I belong to him and he belongs to me. Even when I feel lost in the crowd he knows me by name.

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