My grandfather was a practical man.
I didn't know him well, but in my mind is a long tale of how I imagine he might have been. I shall keep it that way, for I want to believe he was grand.
I was recently given the treasure of a lifetime - his Bible! It arrived in the mail yesterday, duct taped, scotch taped, stapled together with years of use. As I pulled it from its wrappings, the scent of mystery embraced me and I was eager to open its pages and hunt for hints of what the man I have longed to love was like.
Throughout are markings, dates, of what I can only assume are readings. He must have read it at least five times as far as I can tell. Nearly every page is dated with some erased memory that was important to him.
I saw my name and birth date, my sisters' and brothers' names and birth dates; I touched them with my finger as my hand rested where his would have when he wrote them in. I imagined his brow furrowing as he tried to remember how to spell "Allison"...which ultimately he spelled with a "y" rather than an "i". My son was quick to point that out as he peered over my shoulder, but I shooed him away with my hand. "He was an immigrant! How could he have known?"
And then, as I reached and groped for his presence in the ancient book, I came upon the last page scribbled with meaningful Bible verses, but also a short list. A list much more akin to the granddaughter searching for him two generations later; a common thread that made me laugh out loud in my tiny kitchen.
Dry Gas in Oil Barrel
Take off Snow Tires
Fix Tail Pipe
Each crossed off as undoubtedly he had accomplished them later on.
Grandpa... you were not paying attention to the message! We were not so different after all! For in my heart, religion is not about duty or emotion or protocol. In my heart it is about life; and in the midst of worshiping a Holy God, there is the grunt and sweat of reality. God, I have no doubt, understands the human plight.
I am my grandfather's granddaughter, indeed.
A bit of someone's hair, actually three bits of hair in different places: two blond, one brown. I wonder...
And as I close the pages, I sigh a happy sigh. The man I was looking for was more thoughtful and quirkier than I could have hoped - and what I had wished for, that link that would prove my lineage, I found.