I was inspired by a dream or perhaps it was a visit. Who really knows, but, Gram was there in one of her favorite blue flower patterned blouses, and full of smiles. And perhaps that was in part the purpose, of this dream visit; to bring a smile to my heart. Either way, I felt happy when I woke from this dream err visit. Now, onward to the dream, though really is was a memory from long ago. . .
Once upon a time, in a place that seems like a lifetime ago. Oh, wait, it was a lifetime ago, like over 40 years, and that is all I am saying on that subject. So there we were, on the Boardwalk in Ocean City Maryland, right in front the pier’s entrance to all the carnival rides and games. It was actually cool with a gentle breeze coming off the ocean and the sun was just starting to hug the horizon. And there was Gram just beaming with such a smile of happiness, and why not, she was at the beach with her three grandchildren. We the grand-kids were just finishing up some yummy ice cream from one of the little shops; which was straight across from Thrashers French Fries (oh, I love those fries). Gram then broke out her wonderful handkerchief (leaving out a gross part) and proceeded to wipe my brother and sister’s face of the excess ice cream that never quite made it past their lips. Yet, she was still beaming. Then she said here is a couple dollars to go play some games or whatever you want to do; and do not be out of my sight. I will be sitting right here on this bench. So off we went in our separate directions. Though in retrospect, my brother and sister were way too young to be by themselves at all, then again it was a very different time then, and we were in eye shot of Gram.
I could see my brother looking at some candy and my sister too. I walked around looking at the games and was not moved to play them. So I stood there looking around and saw little shop with these tiny little seagulls in the window. I was bad then, because I went into the little store and was out of eye shot of Gram. Though oddly, she never came after me. Guess, she knew I would call out if I had an issue. But, I did not. So I walked up to the counter and this nice lady right away asked if I was lost. I said no ma’am, I am here to buy those Seagulls you have in the window for my Gram and pointed outside to the bench across the way. So I handed her my money and she gave me a quarter and dime back for change. She then wrapped them up in tissue paper and placed them gently in a little brown paper bag. I said thank you ma’am and walked out straight to Gram still sitting on her bench.
As I walked over, I saw my brother and sister were sitting there beside Gram with pouty faces. They had spent all their money and apparently wanted more and Gram said no, not right now. And when Gram said no, she meant no and when she said yes, she meant yes. There was never really many gray areas with her. Which I always admired about her. So I guess that is where I get it that from; always doing my best to keep my word. But, I digress. So I walked over to Gram and handed her my little brown paper bag. And said, these are for you Gram, hope you like them.
She opened the bag very gently and reached in, pulling out a ball of tissue paper. As she slowly unwrapped it, you could see her eyes starting to get a bit watery. Then she saw the seagull. Then the tears streamed. She didn’t bother opening the others, she just grabbed me and gave me a Gram hug. You know the type where they squeeze the air out of your lungs. All the while, still beaming and tears running down her cheeks. I asked her, did I do something wrong. I did not mean to make you cry Gram. She played it off as something in her eye and oddly I accepted it at the time. She then continued to open the other two. She was still having that something in her eye going on. Then said thank you very much dear, and very thoughtful. She just sat there for a few minutes. I was still wondering if I did something wrong and she was not going to tell me. So I said Gram, here is your change. She looked at me and said, no that is your money dear, save it or spend it. Then we went back to the cottage; which was just down from the pier at that time. Not sure if Ocean Manor is still there. But, it was really cool being so close to the pier and feeling like we lived there.
There is an ugly part to this story, which is full of jealously, rage, alcoholism and drugs. But, this experience is not about that. So I will be skipping the ugliness.
We are now back home in Wrightsville, Pennsylvania, well a couple miles south. Gram had dropped us off at the old farmhouse on Lauxmont Farms (not sure they still call it by that name). After she left, we did not see Gram for a couple weeks. Probably due to the all the ugliness.
Though, moving on a few weeks later. I was at Gram’s home doing a few outside chores. Mostly, picking up the never ending sticks and raking leaves from the 100 plus year old maple trees (it took four peoples arms stretched out to reach around these trees). I was almost done and Gram said time to eat. I literally just dropped my rake and ran. Oh, yum, Gram’s roast beef and gravy, mashed potatoes, Brussels and Yorkshire pudding; followed by her Raspberry Trifle (I am getting so hungry right now). Anyway, I sat there eating the yummy supper and noticed just above the sink on a little ledge of knickknacks; sat the Seagulls. I was so happy to see them there. I then mentioned to her, that I guess she liked them. She said to me, that she will cherish them always. And she did, forever and a day. Because, over the years she was flooded several times. Though every time there was a flood, it was the first thing she went looking for when she could get back into her home. They might not be as shiny and new as they once were. But, even with the stains from multiple floods, they still meant a lot to her.
So thank you Gram for the visit in my dream. I will forever cherish the seagulls and keep them in a place of remind me of that most happy moment we shared when I was just a wee lad.
Love You Gram.
Your Grandson Neall (raven)
Originally Published on Junction 116 (Stories from the Heart) Blog: September 5th, 2018.