Of all the pictures I've created, this remains one of my favorite.
I'd just finished my junior year of high school and was leaving in a few days to spend the rest of the summer in Denmark. (That summer I was a Y.F.U. summer exchange student;
coincidently, though I wouldn't meet her for another 15 years, so was Kim.)
My thoughts the evening I created this image of my grandpa were simply about walking around & making pictures of stuff I loved and stuff I might miss, and stuff I just wanted to share with my host family. This seemed the right place to start.
I grew up within a mile or so of Grandma Jane & Grandpa Frank, my dad's parents.
Lots and lots of sleepovers & projects & mild-parental-rule-breaking [like drinking as much ice-cold Coca-Cola, from glass bottles mind you, as our heart's desired.]
At home there were rules. At Gramma & Grampa's...just love. Lots of love. Lots of laughts. LOTS of stopping in.
My mom's told the story many times of 3-year-old me making it quite a ways down our lane on my tricycle 'cause I was "going to live" with Grandma Jane & Grandpa Frank.
What could be better than life at a grandparent's house?!
The evening I took this photo, Grandpa Frank, as he was so many evenings, was down the hill from his house, piddling around at the pond. Truth be told, am not really sure what he DID much of the time he was down there [nor was Grandma Jane for that matter. SHE always seemed to be in the midst of a home or garden project or getting out, preparing, or putting away food.]
But for Grandpa, time moved a bit slower. There were fish to feed or fish to catch and grass to mow, maybe a turtle to find, or a dock to fix. Maybe the little shed needed to be tidied up. Lots of walking around the bank, just making sure everything was in order, I s'pose.
Oh, yeah, and grandkids to spend time with.
That's probably what he did more than anything, made time for the grandkids or neighbors or old friends who would stop by for a chat when they saw him down by the water. The pond was in clear view of the blacktop. And that road, "J", was pretty much the main artery 'round those parts: nearly everyone we knew needed to take that road to come or go where they were coming or going, at at least one point throughout the day. So there was lots of stopping-to-talk.
You could see the pond from nearly every back window of the house, too. So you were never really alone down there, just alone-in-your-head. It was a place in the world to call one's own.
This was where Grandpa Frank was most at home.
And this picture is EXACTLY as I'll always remember him.
There's a blessing that makes its way into many of the wedding ceremonies we document that includes phrases that unfold something like:
"...for divine assistance at every moment,
the constant support of friends,
the rich blessing of children,
a warm love reaching out to others,
and good health until a ripe old age, let us pray to the Lord."
When I hear those words, I think of Grandma Jane & Grandpa Frank ~ everytime.
They lived to their 90s and for the first 85 years or so were in pretty impressive health.
Grandma & Grandpa were married 67 years, and argued like brother-and-sister for nearly all of them.
They were a joy & a delight . . . and oh, how they loved us!
With happiness, but a bit of sadness, too ~ amy