And now, for no particular reason, I'd like to honor my grandmother, Trudy Limric.
Her body actually died some time ago, but she seems to be doing fine. Could be anywhere, really. She was a fine old woman. Since I wasn't raised by her, I can say that cheerfully. We never had to breathe each other's air for longer than was healthy, we just hung out every few years or so, and it worked out well for us both.
She was a partner to a small antique china shop in San Juan Bautista, CA... right on the San Andreas fault line. She seemed to have entered life content with a simple goal: keeping from being bored. And in this she succeeded beautifully.
She also told magnificent stories, many of which I have passed on to her great-grandchildren. Ultimately, she was one of Bradbury's kind of people: earthbound, yet ready to fly.
As my gift to you all, I will share with you today one of the few pieces of her writings to survive.
He leaned against the neighbor's fence
Beneath the only tree in the back yard
And thought about the twelve trees
That lined the lane on the farm
Six black walnut trees on each side.
His grandfather planted them and
Named them after the Apostles.
How he laughed when Dad came
In one morning and said
"Peter lost a limb last night."
He always thought he would be the one
To buy back the farm.
The house on the hill
The bunkhouse with the ice house below
It was lined with cedar pilings
There was a carved tunnel at the back.
Do the present owners know it's there?
They said it was part of the under ground railroad.
Have they remodeled the kitchen?
Did they wonder about the piece of marble
Set in the counter to roll pastry on?
It is really a tombstone
That came down the river one spring.
How scary as a child to take out the pots and pans
Crawl in the space and feel the upside letters and wonder
"Where did you come from?"
Do fireflies still dance in the orchard?
Does the scent of locust trees hang heavy in the air,
While cicadas fill the dusk with song?
Does the river still flood the south forty every seven years?
Do the deer still drift through the cornfields in the snow?
Has anyone found the floorboard in the upstairs bedroom?
His father had hinged it to open.
It held his treasures.
He could put his finger in the small knothole and open it.
It held his arrowheads, his first poetry,
And three hand moulded bullets he found by the river.
Was it still there after fifty years?
He looked at his small back yard.
The neat flower beds, the bird bath
The honeysuckle on the trellis
And the iron bench beneath the one tree
I didn't intend to get so old
He rubbed his arthritic knee
"I really intended to buy back the farm."
(Tree picture courtesy of scenicreflections.com, all rights reserved.)