For many, the end of a year is a time for reflection. It is a time to go back and remember certain things of significance. For my family also, the end of the year is a time to go back. In my case, going back means more than reflecting on events in my life. It means going back to a place that ties me to my family’s heritage. It means a trip to my Grandaddy’s place in northwest Alabama. I made mention of this treasured place here.
When I visit my Grandaddy, his house, and his land it is like traveling through time. He is a living bridge between a time preceeding the memory of anyone else I know and what he and I, together, share today. He has lived in this place for decades. He knows the longest, most complete version of the story of this place. He fills in the gaps in our minds as we ask questions about the “why”, “how”, and “when” of things.
He is an amazing man, and his place is an amazing place. We walked it, my brother, his son, and I. What was winter beauty for us, has been toil, sweat, worry, and a labor of love for my Grandaddy and his family. But there has also been time of abundant harvest and there are places on this land that were joy and beauty for my Grandaddy too. I’ll bet there were times when he was filled with joy as my Grandmother worked there with him in the field. They must have shared unimaginable hours there together. There are places where he hunted, trapped, walked, watched, and listened. Some of what he saw and heard were probably very similar sights and sounds that I enjoy when I visit his land. I am grateful to be connected to him and this place through my mother and through these things we have in common.
…and I know that I am connected to this place when I miss my Grandmother, because I know my Grandaddy misses her too.