Today I want to share something that is very special to me, very near to my heart. It’s the one piece of writing that I am most proud of, that is the most meaningful, and definitely a piece of work that I worked and worked at getting “just right.”
But before I share the piece itself with you, let me share how it came to be.
I was blessed with having a wonderful grandpa. Together he and I created wonderful memories, and I loved him deeply. God called him home when I was just a freshmen in high school, and although our time together was short, it was sweet.
Then, in college, I found myself challenged and stretched during a course on how to teach writing. The professor asked us to write in a variety of formats, one of which she called “Room in My Heart.” The purpose was to think of an object, something that many might look at and yet attach no meaning to, and to write about how it held a special place in your heart because of what it represented. No easy task, but it was one that I took seriously.
And so here it is. One of my 30-before-30’s is to have a piece of my writing published, and this just may be the one. I’m still exploring those avenues, but for today…I’ll share it with you.
Room in My Heart
I love lollipops. Big, colorful, make a sticky mess lollipops. And although they look lovely and taste deliciously sweet, my adoration for them goes far beyond the physical. The love I feel toward them is purposeful, filled with meaning and reaching down to the core of who I am. I love them because they embody the memory of my grandpa.
As a girl, I always looked forward to visiting my Papa and Pappy. They lived on a real farm, one that had chicken eggs to gather and big mud holes to slosh through. For fun we read picture books kept from their childhood and gathered around the kitchen to play pick-up sticks. We also spent endless hours cracking pecans and eating sweet, ripe watermelon…to this day I have never tasted a better chocolate malt than the ones Papa made. As I think back, it’s as though I can still feel the cool evening air and see us at our favorite fishing hole or sitting on the porch swing. And there was Papa.
I remember Papa as a big man who snored like a freight train and always looked ever-the-farmer in his blue jean overalls. He kept his hair buzzed…I remembered that because I liked to sit on his lap and rub his head. Years of hard work farming the land had earned him rough hands and the respect of most everyone. And to me, he was the builder of the tents. He could take a few kitchen chairs and a couple of big blankets and before long he had built a tent for us to sit under and talk. He loved to talk, which probably explains why I come by it so naturally.
My Papa was a fighter. For years he battled diabetes, heart problems, cancer, and multiple surgeries meant to repair his worn out body. The years of physical pain would have made bitter a lesser man, but not my Papa. His faith was steady, his determination strong, and his spirit humble enough to see the sunshine through the rain.
On October 15, 1999, my Papa found sweet relief from his pain and went home to his heavenly father. Although our grief was intense, he left my family with so much to hold on to. Physically and financially he left my Pappy secure, emotionally he left us feeling loved, and spiritually he left us with a legacy of hard work and integrity that comes from following Christ faithfully. I feel confident that when he entered the presence of the Lord he heard “Well done, good and faithful servant.” I want to live life the way my Papa lived it.
So what about the lollipops? I can’t fully explain why something so seemingly insignificant could carry with it so many memories…I just know that it does. Occasionally Papa would give me one as a treat, and I would smile and hug on him and feel special because of the tradition we shared. As I said my final goodbye to him I placed a big, corn-shaped lollipop in his casket, ending our tradition but forever sealing my love for him. And that is why there will always be room in my heart for big, colorful, make a sticky mess lollipops.
In Loving Memory of Ray Traweek
It’s been just over a year and a half since my Pappy joined Papa in heaven. I know she was tired, ready to join her loved ones in the presence of the King…but I still miss her in so, so many ways. I have started to feel the itch to write about her as well…to try and capture what we shared. The words are still forming in my heart…but one of these days I will flesh them out in writing. In the meantime, I will cherish her memory, and his, in my heart.
KEEP CALM & REMEMBER ON