Thursday, June 22, 2006

Great Memories

Last Saturday, I spent a long, rainy morning with two sweet friends. We drank coffee, laughed, prayed, told secrets and shared special memories that are precious to us. I was reminded of one of my fondest childhood memories and want to share it with all of you.

I am the oldest grandchild in my family and also the only girl. This means I am a princess. :)
My family adores me and I have a suspicion that I was quite spoiled when I was little. Explains a lot, doesn't it? Everyone in my family paid attention to me, but it was my relationship with my pawpaw that is really special to me.

My pawpaw is not a very affectionate man. He doesn't know how to communicate well and he has a very hard time expressing love to people. He isn't very good at interpersonal relationships and he doesn't know how to hug or pat or be physically affectionate. But growing up, I always knew how much he loved me because of the special trips he would take me on.

My pawpaw and I have been to England, France, Switzerland, Germany, Australia and many other places together. We never left his backyard, but we traveled all over the world. He had this big porch swing in his back yard, set underneath his willow tree. We would sit on that swing and he would push it back as far as he could and then he would tell me to buckle in and get ready because our flight was about to take off. He would lift his feet and the "plane" would soar into the air and our journey would begin. As we were flying through the willow leaves, he would describe the scene down below. He would tell me all about the countries we were flying over. We visited many exotic places and had hundreds of adventures.

Sometimes we would take domestic trips by "rail" instead. He would shout "All Aboard" and I would jump on the train and we'd take a trip through the countryside. We saw everything and we never got tired of traveling. We always took a box of Nilla wafers along for sustenance.

Looking back on that, I laugh because I realize that my pawpaw really just wanted to spend time in his beautiful garden, half snoozing on his swing. But he turned those lazy, summer evenings into magical moments for his little garden fairy. He gave me his time, his imagination and his love.

Some day soon, the Heavenly Father is going to shout down and say "All Aboard" and my pawpaw will jump on that train and take the trip of a lifetime. I'll be left standing under the willow tree, looking at an empty swing. But before that happens, I think we have a last-minute flight to Italy scheduled. He'll bring the Nilla wafers.


Eye Doctor Justin said...

You have an amazing gift with words, Laurie. I thank God that you are His.

Nilla wafers totally remind me of my Dad. I will always love them.

Jeanine said...

That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing that story and continuing to bless us with your gifts.

Anonymous said...

You precious are an amazing writer. I have just sat here and cried like a baby thinking of my Dad and Dovie. They also had a wonderful relationship. My Dad caught the train about 4 years ago. This truly brought home many wonderful memories of our family. Family is where it's at!!
Keep the memories flowing here.

Justin said...

I liked the post. One of my pawpaws caught the train a year and a half ago and his wife did it several months ago and I am afraid that the other set is about to do the same. They are truly irreplaceable.

blakely said...

i agree w/ justin w..."amazing gift w/ words." thank you for sharing.
my g-pa got on the train 3 wks ago today. it's amazing how the Lord often shows us His love for us in different ways through our grandparents.
i miss the way my g-pa's eyes would light up when i'd walk into the room.

Laurie said...

Thank you all much for your kind words and encouragement. I am so glad my story blessed so many of you.

I recently took the opportunity to tell my pawpaw about how special this memory is to me.