G is for Glory

A tree gives glory to God by being a tree.

Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation


Fall 1968

In the spring of 2012, my father’s home insurance company sent an inspector. As a result, the insurance company required two changes: part of the roof needed to be replaced and two trees needed to come down, one of them being the tree shown above.

The roof and the tree

Standing tall though stripped of its glory

May 2018 — the stump

“I am sorry,” sighed the tree.
I wish that I could
give you something…
But I have nothing left.
I am just an old stump.
I am sorry…”

Shel Silverstein, The Giving Tree

The flowers around (and on) the stump — August 2018

Well, an old stump is good for a garden.
Come, plant flowers and enjoy.

A purple coneflower gives glory to God by being a purple coneflower and a petunia gives glory to God by being a petunia.

Old Photographs

One of my kids told me, “I pulled some pictures out of the garbage by Grampa’s chair yesterday.”

“What?!” I said.

I knew my father had been going through old photographs. It’s something he enjoys. He’ll sit there for hours sifting through and resifting.

“Hey! Have I ever shown you this one?” he’ll ask as I walk past.

I’ll pause and squint to see the glossy black-and-white snapshot in his hand. “This is the house I used to live in,” he’ll explain, and sometimes launch into a story of how his cousin lived right next door and that there was a path worn through the trees, or how he and his father hid time capsules under the floorboards or in the walls.

“This is my father,” he’ll say. “He was a pretty handsome fellow, don’t you think?”

“Here’s one of my old girlfriends,” he’ll say, and my stomach gets a little squeezy because I don’t want him thinking about old girlfriends even though I know that’s silly.

As my son was telling me about the photographs that had been in wastebasket, he looked in. “Here they are again,” he said, and he pulled several out.

I was upset and a little bewildered. Why was my father discarding these old photographs?

“I think it was just an accident,” my son said, reading the unhappy look on my face.

No, the first time could have been an accident, but twice in two days seems pretty intentional.

I’ve heard my father say, in very general terms, “I don’t know who’s going to want all this stuff.”

“What are you wondering about?” I’ll ask.

“That Johnny Damon statue,” is a common reply. He went through a period convinced that we needed to take Johnny Damon to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Surely they would want it. 

I’m not so sure.

Maybe he was thinking that no one would want these old photographs.

I looked at the most recent batch pulled from the garbage. They were all taken in Seligman, Arizona, in 1924.

The story goes that my grandfather and some friends had driven a car across the country in 1924, stopping in towns along the way to sell advertising on the side of the car and work for a short stint to earn money for the next leg of the journey.

Here’s my grandfather.  He is a handsome fellow.

This is the Harvey House where I think they stayed. I know that because my grandfather was very good about writing words on the backs of photographs to identify the picture.
Except he didn’t identify this one but I think it’s him and his friend and the car and a roadside picnic.

I’ll have to ask my uncle or my aunt.

My father’s memory is dwindling.

And his thinking is muddy.

Otherwise, I doubt he would have thrown out the pictures.

In any event, they’re safe now.

Blonde

Me — about 3

My hair was blonde when I was small
But it grew dark as I grew tall
My mother had the same thing too —
Blonde that darkened as she grew

’tis a funny thing — this natural blonde —
Some maintain, and don’t respond
To aging with six shades of brown
But old age gives its hoary crown

To all in silvery grayish white
Tresses giving up the fight
To stay the hue of summer sun
And let winter overrun

Vanity, you try my hair
But you won’t win ’cause I don’t care


In response to Daily Prompt: Rhyme

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Alphabet with a Twist – B

Looking Across the Valley

My parents’ house used to have a large front porch. I can remember my mom and dad sitting out there after dinner during the summer, drinking coffee and watching the sun set.

Last night, from another room, I watched my father get up and push his walker to the front window. He peered out for a few minutes and then hobbled back to his chair.

When I came in, he said, “Just take a look at that out there.”

I walked over to the window and stood where he had stood. The sun was low on the horizon.

“Isn’t that lovely?” he asked. “The sun is… is…” He struggled to find the words.

“It’s setting in the west,” I said.

“Yes, that’s right. The sun is setting in the west, and it’s beautiful,” he said.

One of the best things about this old farmhouse is it’s view across the valley. No one can put a price on that.

This picture was taken one of those first years we lived in the house. (Ignore the kids in front — my hair still doesn’t want to curl the way it’s supposed to, my sister no longer wears cat-eye glasses, my little brother is considerably taller, my oldest brother has passed away, and my middle brother smiles for the camera now.)

 

1968?

The farm across the valley is still there, just a different color. But our fence is long gone. It’s still a lovely view.