Sunday, September 02, 2007

Father's Day Gift

My younger brother and I gave gifts to our parents on Mother's Day and Father's Day. We also gave gifts to our grandmother and our great-aunt on Mother's Day, and to our step-grandfather, R, on Father's Day.

I remember some of the gifts, particularly the Mother's Day items. Memories of what we gave my dad are a bit fuzzier, but I do know that with Mom's influence, there were a number of shirt-and-tie sets. But gifts to R, well, I know we gave him something or other every year.

R didn't have much in the way of hobbies, that I knew of. He was a working-class man who was very quiet. He worked the night shift, so mostly when we saw him, he had interrupted his daily sleep to get up for Sunday dinner. He smoked a pipe, but only outside or down in the workshop attached to the garage. He used a push mower to mow their large yard. I'm sure he did other yard work - trimming tress and the spirea bushes, and every year helping dig up the peony plants (which we called piney-bushes).

Most of the time I saw him dressed in a pair of blue denim overalls, complete with a pocket watch, and a pencil. He did have dress slacks and nice shirts and on special occasions he did wear them.

He was the only one in that household who drove a car. Neither my grandmother nor her sister could drive. He drove the world's plainest car - a brown boxy manual-transmission vehicle with tan plastic upholstery, no air conditioning, and only an AM radio.

Anytime the women of the house needed to go somewhere, he took them. I particularly remember their weekly grocery-shopping trips. R would take them to the smaller grocery store they preferred, then he would sit on one of the folding chairs lined up just inside the entrance with all the other older men.

I remember him as sweet and patient. I remember his delight at having taught me to "saw to a line" with the ancient handsaw on scrap wood down in the shop. I had a great amount of affection for the man, which is why it puzzles me that I can remember only one Father's Day gift to him. What was the precious gift I do remember? Why, it was a bar of soap-on-a-rope of course!

[memories evoked by the Weekend Wordsmith prompt, "rope."]


deputyswife said...

Hello from Michelle!

Soap on a rope. Now there is a blast from the past. I have enjoyed reading your Sunday Scribblings posts. Have a great week-end! (What's left of it!)

BreadBox said...

Sister AE, that was a beautiful piece of writing. I got to the end, and realized that I had missed who "R" was -- and that it didn't matter, since in your writing he was a grandparent. He may have had a "step" in front of him, but your writing shows a love for him that words can hide, but people can't.

I've visited a few times now, thanks to Michele, and that is how I came here tonight -- but I think that I'm going to have to bookmark you. I've enjoyed reading what your write each time....

sister AE said...

Hello, deputyswife. I'm glad you've enjoyed your visit here. I hopped over to see your site and I'm going to have to come browse for quite a while now. Look for me there.

sister AE said...

Hi, BreadBox. R married my grandmother a long time before I was born, but we never called him by anything other than the nickname everyone else called him, adults and children alike, but he was, in all aspects except biology, my grandfather.

Bookmark away! I'm tickled that you want to visit.

Maria said...

I think you just gave him the perfect gift.....