Taking a Walk…

…down memory lane.

It never ceases to amaze me how sensitive we all are.

How a smell, a taste, a sound or song can take us back to some distinct place in our past, can make us feel like we are living it all over again.

I sit here tonight with a 3 Musketeers candy bar in front of me.  The very sight of the wrapper takes me back – the taste takes me back even further.

My papa (my mom’s dad) was a 3 Musketeers junkie.  He kept several of them hidden somewhere in his room at all times.  Thinking about him took me back.

I remember being a part of old-time “jam” sessions in my granny and papa’s living room.  Granny played the piano (the very one that sits in my living room today) and often I sat next to her.  Papa played the banjo or the guitar.  Various family and friends and neighbors would gather inside and out.  They would bring their various instruments (voices included) and we would rock the house.  Gospel music, country music, ballads, you name it and it was sung.  And always Old Rugged Cross was included because it was Granny’s favorite.

I remember arriving at their house for a surprise visit to discover that Granny had died shortly before we got there.  I was young and couldn’t totally take in why everyone was at their house and why many people were crying.  I remember being upset and I remember not wanting to go to the funeral.  It was a very confusing time for me.

Not long after that my papa moved in with us.  He had the blue bedroom in our house along with the 1/2 bath that was upstairs.  I remember him having a small black and white TV in that room so that he could watch a little in privacy.

When my parents divorced he came with us.  My mom was working a lot because she was now a single parent.  Papa was our primary caregiver during this time period.  Mom was around as much as she could be.  Sadly it was during this time that papa really started drinking a lot.  He always was a drinker but he got really bad.  He drove my sister and I to piano lessons in town every week.  And while we learned the piano he bonded with alcohol at the Legion.  There were several times the ride home was incredibly scary because he was way to drunk to drive.  Still, he was our support and our caregiver and we loved him so.

Papa continued to live with us and eventually his drinking became less and less.  Of course the damage was already done.

Papa passed away before any of my children were born.  He was in a nursing home and was not truly cognizant of his surroundings or of who people were.  I hadn’t talked to him in more than a year because phone calls were too frustrating for him.  He didn’t know who I was and only got more upset when I tried to explain it to him.  My last memory about him was my mom calling to tell me that shortly before he died he said that he had talked to my granny.  It made my heart swell to know that she had been waiting for him all that time and came to take him Home.

I hear his Willy Nelson like voice right now.  I can see the boots he always wore that had the zipper up the side.  I can picture his mouth that even in my younger years only had a few teeth.  I can smell the Braunschweiger that he always ate and the pickled pigs feet.  And I can taste the 3 Musketeers.

I love you papa.  Give everyone a hug and kiss for me and tell them I miss them all.

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About Brotherly Love

I am a mom, partner, teacher and a lover of life. I have two fabulous boys who define my life as I know it. One of my children has been diagnosed with a sensory processing disorder, Asperger's and anxiety disorder. I blog as much about him as I do about my life and the lives of my immediate family.
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5 Responses to Taking a Walk…

  1. akbutler says:

    awww…I’m teary here…that was a beautiful tribute.

  2. Elastamom says:

    Isn’t it crazy how something like a candy bar can take us right back?

  3. Patty says:

    Wow, this is so poignant. I agree that there are certain smells and tastes that just take you back. My grandpa sounds an awful lot like yours; he was an alcoholic, but also a big gruff teddy bear. He always stocked up on candy bars and ice cream before we came to visit.

  4. Debbi Henry says:

    It is funny how just that simple candy bar can bring back all of those memories.

    How sweet that your grandma was waiting for him…

    I have never heard Old Rugged Cross but that was a song that was very special to my grandfather, whom I never met. He died a few years before I was born, but my mother always talks about him. It is amazing to me that your grandparents liked the same song…

  5. Mrs.Mayhem says:

    Heather, this is such a touching tribute to your grandfather. Your describing both the good and not-so-good aspects to his personality makes me picture him so vividly.

    And your trip down memory lane led me to my own. My grandfather played the banjo and his siblings all played instruments. I remember their jam sessions from when I was a child. Those are some of my happiest memories from my childhood.

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