Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Personal Notes

Tonight I need to do a little personal blogging. A couple of things have been on my mind for a day or two that need to get into words. Where to start.....?

Before I forget, there was a great moment this morning on the way to work. I stopped for a cup of coffee at a convenience store and there was a woman in front of me making a transaction. In order to get thr full benefit of the moment, you have to get in the mood. If you're not from the South or have never lived in the South this is not easy. We have a wonderful social matrix down heah that has no equal any place else. If you are able to enjoy this morning's post about White Trach Palace, the post just under this one, you might get where this is going. Remember, I had just composed that post less than an hour before I stopped for the coffee. This is what I saw.

She was about five feet, four inches tall, with hair bleached out at the outer length but a kind of sandy brown coming in from the roots. I didn't see any grey, but she looked at least forty-five years old from the lines on her face. A bit of grey streaking would have been natural, but I think her hair was tinted to cover it up.

She wasn't wearing her teeth, but she had a friendly, toothless smile and pretty good posture. She was wearing a teeshirt with a characature of an Indian in profile, pot-bellied with one feather and slightly bucked teeth, wearing a loincloth front and back. The caption under the cartoon said "SQUAT." she was wearing jogging pants that stopped short of her sneakers, showing about half of her white socks.

She was spending twenty-two dollars to buy scratch-off lottery tickets. She spent the entire amount and walked away with a little handful.

I got my coffee and make a mental note to remember to blog the moment, so here it is. Sons and daughters of the South will understand. All the rest can just move along to the next item...

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Tonight my eye is okay, more or less. But as of the last week or two I have been seeing poorly in my left eye. Really strange. After going to two opthalmologists I have been given the term corneal dystrophy. A bit of Googling and I found out the condition is chronic, not acute, and can take a range of forms. I will know more when I go back for my Friday appointment, but meantime I have been reflecting on the significance of my eyesight as an easy blessing to take for granted. Corneal dystrophy is a "condition" rather than a disease, rather like freckles or ingrown nails or male pattern baldness. Just happens in some individuals. The good news is that, worst case scenario, corneal transplants have a very high success rate. Also, there is something called Fuchs' Corneal Dystrophy which may or may not be what I have.

This brings me to the question of blogging. Hours of pecking on the keyboard and staring into the monitor is what blogging is all about, so being able to see okay is important to that activity. Gardening, woodworking, cooking...almost anything else -- would be easier on the eyes. But for the moment I'm still motivated to blog.

I don't have any real traffic, and most of my hits are from searches. As close as I can figure there must be fewer than fifteen or twenty regular readers of my blog, and those are all "lurkers." Comments are very few and far between. Even the troll seems to have lost interest. So why do I keep it up?

I blog to my grandchildren. When I am catching something and making comments I am speaking to the next generation in the hope and expectation that one day about twenty or thirty years from now one of them might be curious about what his or her old Grandpa may have said about this or that. I may or may not be alive, but even after I am gone I hope the Google cache will still have a storage place for my blog. Like an old newspaper clipping turning yellow and crumbly my blog may be an important link bondingme with my heirs. The words and ideas I leave behind will be far more important than any material stuff.

I know this to be the case because I have such a treasured place for my own grandparents and those who went before them. Every scrap of history and geneology has been important to me, not because it makes me any better, but because it contributes to who I am. My maternal grandfather died when I was only a boy, but I have nothing but admiration and respect for his legacy. I remembered him a few days after Christmas last year and included some of his writing in a blog post. Most recently I came across a wonderful letter he had written in 1905, a letter of reference for a young woman who was in one of his Sunday School classes. It was composed in the courtly and formal manner of the time, and it gave no suggestion that that same woman was to become his second wife within a few years, his first wife being lost in childbirth. She was, of course, my maternal grandmother, who kept not only that precious letter but more as well, including a three-page note from her own father, one of my great-grandfathers, written in pencil in 1889 when she was a college student. I am carefully assembling these family documents in sheet protectors to keep in a three-ring notebook.

Yes, I know all this is pedestrian and boring for everyone else, but for my grandchildren they will come across this post and know that they have discovered a crack in the old guy's shell that showed something of his humanity. That's not an easy guy thing to show, you know, even in these enlightened times.

Before I quit I have to tell a great story about the youngest grandchild. (You knew this was coming, right?) Seventeen months old soon and he just had one of those developmental moments that make you want to cry. His mother is a perfect mom, nurturing and involved with his every move. And his father is also a superior parent. They made the decision that she would be a stay-at-home mom and they would live on his earnings alone. (My wife and I did the same thing so it is not surprising. We knew what it was to do free stuff for entertainment. We lived in a house for nine years with no air conditioning, took walks for entertainment, and at one point had no television for a year because the one we had broke. Thankfully, those days didn't last more than a few years.)

So this little toddler goes into the bedroom where Mom is doing something, reaches up and says "Up." This means pick me up. This time Dad is home, right down the hall, and Mom is busy.
First time ever in his little life she says to him, "Mama's busy right now. Go let Daddy hold you."

He looks up silently. Understands. Turns and begins walking down the hall toward Dad. Slowly.
"Come on, Buddy, Daddy will hold you," says Dad holding out his arms. And at that moment the little guy bursts into tears, heartbroken that his Mama isn't going to hold him this time.

It's a beautiful picture that we can never forget. I wasn't there, but just the telling of the story by my wife was all I needed. How could any parent receive any greater blessing than to see his own children being a good teachers and role models for the next generation? Some day when I am gone he will read this post. He won't remember the moment. But when he reads, tears will form in his eyes and he will know how dearly he was loved. Blogging doesn't get any better than this.

1 comment:

Toom witha Vu said...

I'm one of the lurkers I guess. Your post really struck a chord with me hence this comment.I too get few comments and thats ok because I blog for the pleasure of it and if I get a comment thats fine. Stick with the blogging eh.