Thursday, March 8, 2012

Grandpa's Legacy



Every morning, as I walk from the parking lot to the high school, I pick up the trash that appears upon my path. I don't make a big deal about it. I just pick up what I can and throw it in the trash when I get into the building.

There are several students who see me do this most every day. One finally asked why I do it. It isn't my job.

He's right. It isn't my job. But if I didn't leave places a little cleaner than when I got there, I'm pretty sure my grandfather would come down from heaven and kick my butt.

That, you see, was one of his "commandments".  We learned it many Sundays in the spring and summer as he took us on hikes through the park woods across from his house.  While my grandmother and the rest of the family gathered around the TV or played cards, Grandpa took us on hikes in the woods.

The spring was my favorite time to go. I swear Grandpa knew the name of every wildflower we passed: 

Blood roots 

Dutchmen's Britches, 

Jack in the Pulpits, 

Sweet Williams 

I loved searching for them as we passed down the trails. We never picked them. We left them for others to enjoy. Although I remember the first time he showed us a Blood Root. He did pick it to show us how it got it's name.

Often times we took marshmallows and Grandpa would start a small campfire so we could roast them.  Always on long sticks that he carefully shaved the bark off with his ever present pocket knife. Those were the best marshmallows I have ever had.

And always we took a sack with us to carry our trash back with us... and any other trash we may find.

It was a lesson I learned well.

15 comments:

  1. I love your post. Reminds me of the imtes I went into the woods with my Grandpa. He helped me with my leaf collection and he also took me fishing with him. He taught me to play cards as well. It isn't wonderful that we have those memories no one can take from us! Thanks for sharing! Happy Slicing! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah, grandpa's are special. Mine was a lobsterman, so that's what he taught us.
    You have some loving memories, and some very good lessons!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yep, that's what you do. It's wonderful that your students notice, Deb, & ask about it. That means to me you're such a model that they really watch you. I was brought up with those values too, from most everyone around me. Thanks for the good tribute to your grandfather.

    ReplyDelete
  4. If more people did things that "weren't their job" this world would be a better place. I hope some of those students follow your good example.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your grandpa was a special man and look who he helped mold. If only, others would follow by example. I think you've planted some seeds in your students and now just watch them grown. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Judy said what I was thinking as I read. I wonder if you will see anyone else following your lead, now that they know.
    This made me snort with laughter: my grandfather would come down from heaven and kick my butt. Still laughing as I reread. :)
    I am so jealous that you've seen these plants in the wild. Can I come up and you take me on a hike?

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love the bit about marshmallows - it's those little details that make a person come alive for the reader, and your Granpa did - he must have been a special man. Thanks for sharing this, Deb.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You created a very vivid picture of the type of person your grandfather was between his hikes in the woods, knowing the names of plants, picking up garbage, using a tool to make sticks to roast marshmallows. Without describing him using adjectives, etc. you described him so well.

    ReplyDelete
  9. You did what Ruth has been doing! I have been trying think of a way to do this. You gave depth to an ordinary moment in your life: throwing away trash. You have done your grandfather proud with this slice, in addition to your daily actions!

    ReplyDelete
  10. A genuinely good credo to live by: "Leave places a little cleaner than when you got there." Gee! If we all did that . . . . You never know, Deb. When students are watching, they're learning, and maybe one day you'll watch them do the same.

    ReplyDelete
  11. What a tribute to your grandpa. I couldn't help but think of Miss Rumphius as I read your slice. Do you know that book? It is one of my favorites.

    The best marshmallows you have ever had -- that's a good line. I like how it works with the rest of the slice.

    Ruth

    ReplyDelete
  12. As always, I love the voice in your writing, your flowy sentences. So easy and fun to read. I could see your grandpa shaving the sticks with his pocket knife.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great memories. I think we all need to remember to help make the world a little better each day.

    Cathy

    ReplyDelete
  14. Nice slice, Deb! One of our biggest problems right now, it seems to me, is that we're stuck in that "isn't my job" kind of mentality. Ironic, since the very fact that I can leave this comment on your writing proves that in some ways we live in a more connected world than we ever have. More connected, but more individualistic and isolated. What would our elders say?

    An enjoyable reflection to read, Deb. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a precious lesson you learned from your grandfather. I love how you started the slice talking about something small you do everyday, but then you made the connection to a greater lesson/memory you have with your grandfather. Love the pictures that you included as well!

    ReplyDelete