Many years ago, when I was a child, I was assigned to interview someone I admired. I admired many people, so it took me a bit to whittle it down to whom I would choose. In the end, I chose my Granny. She has seen so much, wise eyes, wicked kind of wise. Woman knew you were up to no good before you did it, and had a switch at the ready too. Wicked wise.
During the interview, I asked my grandmother about childhood. She said she was dirt poor on a farm, but she was happy. She saw the invention of the radio and one landing in every American home. She spoke of how they gathered around the radio to listen to the weekly program, news, and music. She thought it was truly beautiful, magical.
After listening to her life, I then asked her if she felt we lost anything with the invention of the radio and later TV?
She said yes, we lost family. Family values, family morals, family sticking together come hell or high water. She said too many people think this world owes them something and they are completely missing the reality of you have to survive, and in order to do that, you need your family.
As an elementary student, I had no idea what she was talking about, and well, I saw family as an ever morphing scenario of change. People come, people go. The love is never less, just the distance it must travel to be received. Like a phone from the heart. I was in 3rd grade, from a broken home as they so eloquently put it these days, and maybe I was a bit naïve, or maybe I was wise beyond my years. Only you can decide that…
My grandfather was a WW2 veteran, and he was a hero in my eyes, like a walking GI JOE, and he held a place of high honor to me. I did not realize the magnitude of what my grandparents faced for quite some time, and even still don’t truly understand, but the one thing I know, is they spent all of their adult lives married, for better or worse, and they spent years in the depths of hell on earth and still made it through, survived, together, a rare gem of reality these days.
Granny was right, somehow with the invitation of the world, we lost the heart and soul of who we are. The people who walk beside us everyday, telling us we are capable of doing something even when doubt is screaming in your ears. The people who have our backs. And well, Granny, I am now a Grandmother, and this is what I wish I could say to you…
Thank you. Thank you for being a strong woman who stood through hell to fight. Thank you for the 6 children you brought into this world. Thank you for the grandchildren you watched over until you just physically couldn’t do it anymore. Thank you for the bounty of the harvest that comes in grandchildren and great grandchildren and even great-great grandchildren. Our family became it’s own city when we are all in one place together. Massive. WOW!
They are the true leaders, the leaders in my heart. When life got hard, I would think about what others I knew whom had struggled through, and I knew that because they survived, I could too. And it is with that knowledge and wisdom I have tried to guide my children through a very vastly different scope of life than what our ancestors started out with, because one day, you may be grateful you listened, but if you didn’t, you’ll also thank me for the library of wisdom I have saved for you. Important things. Things I wish I had known earlier. Live in the present, but keep the knowledge of the past, and carry it forward. This is the true tree of life, wisdom passed down from generation to generation.
And lastly, if my Granny was still alive today, she would sit on her Welborn Throne with pride. She would see the accomplishments and failures of all, remember wicked wise eyes, and she would still be proud of all that has come to be accomplished by all her ancestors.
Pretty darn beautiful when you see the whole web of creation from a distant point.
Thank you GI JOE Grandpa, for because you fought so bravely, you gave me and many others the freedom to write this and give the bird to anyone who doesn’t like it!