Grandmother–Talebearer

One of the features of Free Friday will be guest blogs from time to time. Today blog is by Jessica R. Patch. For more of Jessica’s posts, click her name in the Blogroll on this page.

A Memorable Moment with Jessica R. Patch

My Grandmother, the Talebearer

I climbed the steep concrete steps.

One…

Two…

Three…

I rang the doorbell, my favorite thing to do because it turned like a chime, not a buzzer. I itched to get inside the house, to see my favorite person on earth. To bang on the keys of a piano that had long been out of tune, to smell bacon frying any time of the day—not just breakfast. To play with the slew of dirty green rubber bands that lined the rocking chair’s arm and wonder, “Why are these here?” and most of all to hear my great grandmother tell me tales.

I think my first love of stories came from listening to her. I’d sit at her feet while she braided my hair, closing my eyes as her long nails lulled me. Her voice would hypnotize me. Whether they were true stories of when she was a little girl living on the farm, or when an old hoot owl grabbed her hair as she rode in the horse and buggy to church, or fictional stories, I loved them. Lived for them.

My favorite one was about a little girl who was left alone to watch her baby brother. The house was invaded by enemies and Nancy hid her and her brother in the Grandfather clock. Nancy and the Grandfather Clock. That was the name. I loved it. I loved how Grandma’s voice took on each character’s voice. She had perfect timing, pausing when necessary, picking up pace in her voice to increase the suspense, and gently ending the tale with a whisper.

Grandma started forgetting things. Small things at first—where her purse was, that she had left the teakettle on, where she laid her glasses. And then bigger things. Like who I was. How I got to her house. Why I was there.

The year before I married, I went to see her in the nursing home. Her bun I was accustomed to, fell in a long braid down her back. Her body was gaunt; spittle crusted to the sides her mouth. A pang in my heart told me this would be the last time I would ever see her this side of heaven. I barely recognized her.

She did not recognize me.

I hollered into her ear, because she could barely hear nearing an entire century in age. “Grandma, it’s me, Jessica. Do you remember?” I coaxed her with memories, begging inside for her to know me.

“Who?” she asked, agitation and frustration in her shaky voice.

I gave up trying to make her remember. “Would you like me to read you some of the Bible?” She loved the Bible.

“Oh yes, I haven’t been to church since that old hoot owl grabbed my hair. Daddy got him off. Have you seen Daddy?”

My eyes glistened. “No,” I choked. “Not today.”

“What’d you say your name was?”

“Jessica.”

“My husband’s name is Jesse.” She smiled, her gold tooth shimmered. “He’s a good man. A schoolteacher. Maybe you know him?”

I had never met my namesake. He died before I was born. “Maybe,” I said before I began to read through the Psalms. After a few chapters, she squeezed my hand and her milky blue eyes cleared.

“Why, Jessica, when did you get here?”

“Just now, Grandma. Just now.”

“Have you had something to eat? I can make something.”

“No. I’m fine, Grandma.”

She shifted in the bed and winced. Bedsores and a broke down body. “How about a story?”

Could she remember them? “If you feel up to it, I’d love to hear one.” Any one. Anything. Just to know she remembered me for even a second was a treasure. I held back tears the best I could, a burning lump lodged in my throat.

“Once there was a little girl named Nancy…”

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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19 Responses to Grandmother–Talebearer

  1. Santana says:

    Interesting Read

    Like

  2. Marji Laine says:

    That was a two-tissue double-eye wiper! What a touching story, Jessica, and what a wonderful grandma you had!

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  3. Beautiful. Brought back memories of my own great-grandmother. Thank you.

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  4. donnapyle says:

    Wow…what a touching, moving story. Grandma memories are some of the best. Thanks for the reminder…

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  5. Thanks, David, for having me today! 🙂

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  6. David, thank you so much for asking jessica to write a guest post. I absolutely love her blogs.

    Jessica, my grandmother is one of my favorite people all-time. This must be grandmother’s week. Andrew Mocete wrote a beautiful post remembering his grandma Rose this week too.

    Thank you so much for sharing!

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  7. V Kumar says:

    A touching story, and one many of us would have experienced….

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  8. Beautiful story. Grandmas are the best.
    I miss both of mine.

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