Wednesday, March 6, 2013


My gypsy clan and I made a stop at the old family homestead in New York. Our last exit before we board the train to visit my mother. Our merry trio arrived late Monday night and didn’t have a chance to see the surroundings in the dark. When I woke up at 6:10 a.m., the clear at first light sunk in extra hard. My parents’ property is in desperate need of repair. Outside, the driveway needs gravel, fallen trees need to be cut and hauled off. Inside, soft spots in the floor boards need to be reinforced, ceiling needs to be patched, etc. I should be clear … this is not a grand estate from long ago that was meant to stand until the second coming. It’s a 1970 mobile home that sits on a basement my father built in the early 80’s. However, the crumbling abode is on a scenic twenty-two acres of land—land that would have inspired Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, and Robinson Jeffers to a blissful nirvana. While my dad was in good health, he—a handyman that I am not— was able to repair the place and keep it glowing.

So I was lying in bed staring out the window, my brow furrowed with thoughts spiraling like a gyroscope. After a while, I turned and looked at my charmer. I hadn’t realized she had been watching me, waiting for me to notice her as to not break my train of thought. She’s like that, which is one of the 782,432 reasons I love her. She quietly asked, “What’s wrong.”

“I know it’s silly, but I wanted this place to stand forever. I wanted to always return and see my mom and dad.” I pulled the curtain farther back to view the entire snow swept lawn. “My dad is always here … in the land, the trees and grass, and the creek that passes by. All him.  But mom … she lived for this home, and I can’t keep it up. The center can’t hold. And all that bullshit.”

She wisely let me stride down the ‘woe is me’ lane and listened intently. I waxed, on and on, about how we live in a disposable society and other mental crap, like, even memories don’t last … just look at my mom and the broken down merry-go-round that passes for a brain of hers. Nothing lasts forever.

I paused and contemplated what I just spat out. When I float back from my wounded spot, I found my charmer’s reassuring, green eyes. She said very simply, “Even the pyramids are crumbling, what do you expect?”

“Yeah. Nothing is tangible,” I replied. A few seconds passed, and we spontaneously laughed at the  direction our gravity-filled conversation lead us.

Our daughter woke up and looked at us. I saw my dad’s eyes and mom’s inquisitive nature. The past collided with the present in a whirlpool of emotions, and a thousand clich├ęs could be inserted here, but I’ll spare you because there’s nothing new that you and an incalculable number of human beings from the dawn of time haven’t felt.  

My little girl asked me to read her a morning story, and so I do. I reach for one of her tiny books from the collection we piled on the nightstand. This dilapidated old trailer lasted long enough for me to read Biscuit Visits the Farm to my little coconut in the same room that my mother and father read Curious George to me. And, hell, that’s all I need to double down on life and keep pressing forward.


Charles Gramlich said...

The passing on of stories. I suppose that is mostly what the human race is all about!

Kirsten said...

Lovely piece, David. Sharing.

David Cranmer said...

Charles, I've heard Caveman Pulp was one of the best on the rock wall weekly's ever.

Gracias, Kirsten. And thanks again for sharing the link.

Sarah Laurence said...

Good luck with the repairs! You're a good son and father.

Randy Johnson said...

I live in the house I grew up in. Even were I not disabled, I have not the knowledge to do much more than perfunctory repairs. It's getting old along with me, yet the good memories of a childhood remain.

David Cranmer said...

No repairs, Sarah. Don't have the dinero and it would be a money pit. So, I have one last guardian watching the place for a couple of years.

Randy, "perfunctory repairs" is a good way of saying it. And that image of you growing old with the house... there's a story there.

G. B. Miller said...

Kewl beanie babies.

Sometimes just venting to a loved one can help put things in perspective.

David Cranmer said...

And especially when you have a damn fine partner, G.

Naomi Johnson said...

Damn, you made my eyes water.

Leah J. Utas said...

The link is there and always will be. I'm glad you can see it.

Dave King said...

There's nought like family. Enjoy while you can. Great times to you all.

Sheila Grimes said...

You have me watering (the plants of course) David. Watching the place become such as it is is sad,but like D said, even the pyramids! The home I spent my childhood in (mom's earlier time) is gone totaly, the house burned, but the memories live on as long as we remember. Wow, thanks for marrying a wise woman!

David Cranmer said...

Thanks for stopping by and reading, Naomi. Appreciate your kind words always.

Leah, Sometimes life is out of focus and it takes the right moment to snap you back.

Will do, Dave. Gracias, sir.

Sis, I remember Meta taking me by that earlier home you mentioned. Yes, I imagine that abode carried a wealth of memories. And, yes, I married above me.

Sheila Grimes said...

I'm not prejudice or anything, but she did good too!

Cloudia said...

Keep pressing forward, dear

ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
~ > < } } ( ° > <3
> < } } ( ° >

Chudney Thomas said...

It's always hard as a child going back to what you knew, you always expect it to be as it was.

David Cranmer said...

Sis, :)

Cloudia, Full speed!

Chudney, True. A little of Tom W's You Can't Go Home Again. Though in my case I kinda sorta didn't leave. I mean I've been back a lot since I initially left to join the service. Place is just crumbling.