August 18th, 2004


Moments of goodness...

Jammie pants and a t-shirt, "just showered" clean hair, Belgian beer in a glass, full tummy, extra dark chocolate waiting on the coffee table near the TV on which we will soon be watching Rescue Me.

Some nights just come out all right.

just me
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Happy birthday Grandpa...

Grandpa was an accountant.  He was the treasurer for their Methodist Church.  Everyone else called him "Pa," but for some reason, my sister and I called him Grandpa.  When we talk about him now, he's "Pa" even though my father has taken on that moniker in regards to my Nephews.  Sometimes it gets confusing.  I didn't know Pa all that well.  Neither did my father.

I was thirteen years old.  It was my sister's birthday.  I answered the phone, and my uncle was on the other end.  He asked to talk to my dad, and his voice sounded strange.  I handed the phone over and stood there-- dad's knees buckled and he caught himself on the counter, his face falling into his hands.  Pa and Dad were supposed to spend a whole week together father/son time, but he died six days before he flew out to California for the visit.  I can still remember the trouble they had 'reversing' the plane tickets so my dad could get back to Pennsylvania.
When I look at pictures of Pa, I can see my father's eyes, my uncle's nose, my chin, my nephew's hairline.  Oddly enough, THIS picture of him reminds me of jawalter for some reason.  Probably the bow-tie.

The strongest visual memories are about their house. The kitchen, where we always played Uno while Grandma cooked-- she pronounced it "You Know."  The back porch, that sat a story above the sloping back yard and overlooked all of grandpa's flowers-- wisteria was his favorite. I was always afraid to venture too far 'back' into the back yard.  Who knew what creatures lurked in the bushes in the middle of a coal mining town?  And then there was the staircase leading up to the second floor.  For some reason the railing on that staircase is stuck in my mind.  The smooth, dark wood that curved it's way up.  The stairs themselves?  Not so much.  Just the railing.

I can remember going to their house. 1819 Lafyette Street.  It smelled of cigars.  I can't smell a cigar without thinking of Pa, even now.  And the funny thing is that even though I hate cigarette smoke, cigar smoke fills me with the feeling of warmth and love.  It makes me feel safe.  When I pull the old photos out of boxes, that smell lingers slightly on the box, and the pictures.  I know I'll be lost when the smell is finally gone.

Leon Harley Robeson
Born: August 18, 1904
Died: November 6, 1984
Remembered forever