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Front Porch Wisdom
Lessons from a grandfather to his grandson

Tim always looked forward to the summers; it meant he could spend time with his grandfather. His grandfather lived outside the small town, a leisurely bike ride away from Tim's house.


They would sit on the front porch together and talk about everything and anything. It was a special time for Tim and his grandfather; Tim always felt grateful for those moments.



Tim sat on the porch with his grandfather, listening to the stories of a different time. 


"Your parents were raised during a different time in society from you," grandfather said. "Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the twenty to thirty year difference in age between teenage years for parents and children represents an increasing change in society" Tim nodded, eager to understand. He continued. "The time in which your parents grew up is not better or worse, just different. They experienced challenges that you don't face today. You will have opportunities that they can only dream of, like access to education and technology." Tim was quiet, taking it all in.


Timmy considered this for a moment. It made sense in a way that he couldn't quite explain. His parents had always been there for him, no matter what. They had never hesitated to show their affection, and they were always quick to forgive any mistakes he made


Grandfather looked at Tim with a warm smile and said, "Remember that parenting is a learn on the job process. Parents cannot possibly anticipate every situation that will arise during the growing up years. Many times parents are playing catch up to what is happening in their children's lives."


"Your parents have experienced more in their lives than you have, and that has allowed them to learn more." He paused for a moment before continuing. "Respect your parents, Tim. They may not always know the situations you find yourself in exactly. Still, they have undoubtedly learned a great deal more about the solutions than you have."


"You will find a time in your life when you want to make your own decisions. Your parents will have the wisdom to look at the unintended consequences. You would do well to consider their advice."



Grandfather takes a sip of his iced tea and remembers when he and his siblings were just kids. They would spend hours playing and working together on the farm. As they got older, things changed. His siblings started growing apart from each other and spending less time together. It seems like now they barely even talk to each other. He wishes someone would have explained that families generally do not stay the ideal Norman Rockwell family, as he shows in his paintings.


He is disappointed in how his own children followed the same pattern.


"Tim, it will take a long time before this becomes clear to you. There are dynamics that happen to families when the children become adults. You are the oldest, and I hope that by explaining these dynamics, you will be able to keep yourself and your siblings close as adults." 


"Your siblings will have different life experiences than you do. They will know things that you don't. Try to keep the peace by listening to your siblings, not at your sibling's; conversations are not known best contests."


"Set the example of cooperation by willingly coming to your sibling's aid when they need help."


"Be aware of how you are treating family members. Family members often feel free to treat other family members rudely when they would not treat a nonfamily member in such a manner. The rude behavior causes the siblings and parents stress as they wish to keep the peace between members of the family."


"This is no guarantee that you and your siblings will not grow apart, but being aware and providing guidance will help."


Politics and Family

Looking back at his own family and the reasons for his siblings drifting apart. Grandfather wants to caution Tim about allowing politics to enter the family dynamic between him and his siblings. Politics was a pretty big wedge between his siblings.


"It is interesting, Tim, how differently family members think as adults even though they grew up in the same family. The reality is each sibling is an individual and has their own family experience. Growing up, they have their own sets of friends and their own school experiences."


"By the time politics enters their lives, their opinions are pretty diverse. For whatever reason, family members just do not interact well when it comes to differing views."


"Politics is a touchy subject. It can make people angry and cause them to break apart families. But it doesn't have to be that way. My grandfather always used to say that family is more important than politics. He would tell stories of how politics had caused arguments and broken up parts of the family. It's all about being careful with politics and, in general, not discussing it all."



"Grandfather, I am confused; the teacher does not want us to say we are giving; she wants us to say we are giving back. How can I be giving back when I was not given something first."


"Tim, we are living in a strange time where "giving" must be termed "giving back." "You are correct; giving back means you are returning a gift or favor given to you. You understand that giving means you are using your resources to help others. Individuals work hard to develop the resources to give to others. Do not be shamed into calling your giving, giving back. As you can see, the two actions have two different meanings."


"There are two main types of giving: symbolic and helpful. Both should be done with dignity and respect."


"Symbolic giving is when you give something, like a gift or a meal. This gift is meant to show support and lift the person's spirits. This type of giving can have the most significant impact when done as a surprise."


"Helpful giving is when you assist someone with a need they have. In this case, it's best to ask what the person's needs are and then assist them as much as possible to fill that need. Most people want to help themselves, so your goal should be to assist them while maintaining their independence."


"There is one other example of helpful giving. For instance, you can set up a food bank in an underserved neighborhood. This helps individuals and families who have trouble purchasing enough groceries. If it is done as a self serve foodbank, it helps them maintain dignity and independence."


"While it may come as a surprise, learning to receive with dignity and grace is as important as giving from the heart. You are not the only one who wants to do good for others."



"You know, Tim, in just a few more days, school starts, and summer will be over. Tim nods sadly sometimes; he feels like he learns more from his grandfather than he does at school."


Grandfather continues, "I remember when I was in school. I thought the approach to each subject was different. I always struggled, and it was not until I was out in the working world that I figured out why. I discovered that everything I did, I did the same way. That means that I used the same organizing technique for every problem or task I started. "


"What do you mean, grandfather"


"It means all day long you are constantly setting tasks to accomplish and breaking those tasks down into the steps needed to complete the task. Sometimes the steps need to be broken down into more steps. We all do it naturally and are never aware we are doing it."


"Think about making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. How would you go about that task?" "Well, I would get the peanut butter and the jelly out of the cabinet." "What else do you need?" "I need bread, a knife, and a spoon to get the peanut butter and jelly out of the jars and spread them on the bread." "ok, are you done?" "No, grandfather, I have to get two slices of bread and spread peanut butter on one piece and jelly on the other and put the two slices together. Then I put it on a plate and eat it; Tim grins."


"Wait a minute, Tim. Is there a step needed to keep your mother from getting mad at you?" Tim thinks for a minute, "oh yeah, I need to put everything away first."


"Now think about how natural breaking down making a sandwich is; you can do it without much effort. Some school kids just naturally apply it to their school work. For others, they view school work as something different, and they struggle to understand and complete assignments."


"The issue that I see, especially in today's educational system, is the educators do not recognize what is happening."


"In my opinion, along with numbers, the alphabet, learning to read, there should be a strong emphasis on teaching the children how to learn. How they can break down any situation into parts."


"My philosophy is that schools need to teach how to learn, problem solve, and read as a priority. Unfortunately, many graduate from their school system missing at least one of the three keys to adulthood."



"I've spent my entire life observing people. The happiest and most pleasant people to be around are those who exhibit a caring attitude. You can see the tension in the people around them dissipate as they realize this person really cares about them."


"It's the small things that matter," his grandfather said. "Being a positive influence every day will significantly impact more people than trying to do big things occasionally. Do the small things."


"Grandfather explains, "it's not about doing good things so that other people will see you. "It's about doing good things because they're the right thing to do."


"Try to understand how people feel by listening to them, seeing things from their perspective, and imagining yourself in their place. In other words, try to see things from their point of view."


"Keep this in mind people will remember their first impression of you. If you are kind to them, they will remember you as a kind person. If you are mean to them, they will remember you as a jerk. It is your decision as to which it is." 



Tim rolls up to the front porch at his grandfather's and announces he feels sad because a friend had moved away the day before.


Grandfather nods his head and explains that friends coming and going are a natural part of life, and a person is lucky to find a few true and reliable friends.


"A true friend is someone who is always there for you, no matter what. They're the ones who will help you when you need it, even if they don't really want to." Grandfather looked at Tim with a sad smile, recalling some long lost memory. "Being a good friend means being willing to help out on the days that you don't feel like it. You have to be there for your friends, even when you don't feel like it yourself."


"It is rare for pre college and college friends to remain in contact," he said. "Childhood and teenage ideas have a hard time surviving the transition to adulthood. Friends scatter meet new people, get married, and generally get too busy to stay in touch. Those friendships that do survive through it all are worth keeping."


"As adults, most friendships are made in the adult world. By then, potential friends have settled on beliefs and interests that are stable, changing in small amounts."


"You meet new people, make new friendships with like minded people, and slowly but surely, the people you knew before start to fade from your life." Grandfather said with a sigh.



"Tim, perhaps one of the most valuable tools you can develop for the rest of your life is the art of conversation. I know that being able to talk to almost anyone has helped my understanding of many things."


"Be humble and spend more time asking questions and listening than talking, and you will learn something new from everyone you meet."


"Listen with understanding. You must understand the information and the context in which it was given before responding. Take just a bit of time to process. Responding in haste causes misunderstandings; a thoughtful response results in clarity."


"Listen to learn not to provide a rebuttal. Not much can be learned from know it best conversations."


"Most people want to get things off of their chest during a conversation, not have you solve their problems. Let them blow off steam as it will soon enough be your turn to blow off steam."



"Tim, you have a long life ahead of you. Something you will not be able to avoid is making mistakes. Mistakes come with being human."


Mistakes are annoying but not necessarily bad if you learn from them.


"We all make mistakes, and that is one way we learn. Many people try to hide their mistakes, and as a result, they do not learn from them; that is not a good idea because they cannot hide their lack of personal growth."


"When others make mistakes, you must be patient and understanding. Other people need to make their own mistakes to learn and grow. Chances are you will learn something new from their mistake."


"As a young person, I always wondered why older people seemed to be so wise. Having reached the "older" side of life, I understand why. It comes from a lifetime of making mistakes and learning from those mistakes."



Tim, before long, you will have the opportunity to be involved in group activities. There are many benefits to being a member of a group or organization. Whether it is a club, team, or other social outings, being part of a group can improve your life in many ways.



"There is something you need to be aware of; it is called groupthink. Groupthink can narrow a person's view of the world. It happens when members of the group believe that their group is special in some way. They begin to interact differently with people outside of the group, sometimes negatively. Groups exist in many different forms socioeconomic, workplace, religious, charity, etc., and they all can form the belief that they are special to the rest of society and begin to behave that way."



"Remember that groupthink can often lead to bad decisions. It's important to be able to think for yourself and question the information you are given to make good decisions. Just because other people think a certain way doesn't mean you have to as well! Independent thinking is a valuable skill that will help you make good decisions."


Being a Leader

Staring at the trees gently swaying in the breeze, Tim asks a question that has puzzled him for a few weeks. "Grandfather, how does a person be a leader?"

"Tim, let's talk about what is not necessary to be a leader, and that is being in charge. A leader is someone who makes everyone around them better. Being a leader is about lifting up the people around you. In many cases, authentic and caring people become unofficial leaders be it sports at work or in their peer group."


"When you are in charge to be an effective leader, you don't need to tell people what to do. Instead, act as a guide and allow your team to figure out the best way to complete the task at hand. Offer support and guidance when needed, but ultimately let your team take the lead. Teaching your team problem solving skills will result in a more empowered and productive team that feels ownership over their work."


"While leadership principles can be taught in a classroom, effective leadership can only be exercised by truly believing in and living those principles."


"One day, you will think back to a favorite supportive teacher or a favorite supportive boss. You most likely will not name anything specific that person did to make them a favorite. When done properly, the results of true servant leadership are essentially hidden. A servant leader is not imposing themselves on others but is teaching others how to grow and develop themselves. This leadership style does not leave behind a trail of breadcrumbs leading back to the servant leader. Rather than looking for accolades, the servant leader takes satisfaction in observing the growth of the people around them."



"Grandpa, what's love?" Tim asked. His grandfather took a moment to gather his thoughts, "love is an action word," Grandfather explained, "meaning doing for others. Smile, be a pleasant person to be around, offer assistance where needed, be respectful. You do these things expecting nothing in return." 


From our very first second being born to our very last second alive, we are all going to experience circumstances beyond our control. So be kind and hold out your hand so that you may give someone just that boost that gets them back on their feet. That is how you love your fellow man."


He looked down at his grandson with a proud smile. "Childhood is such a critical time for developing the ability to learn love and to show love through action. He is proud of how well Tim's parents are showing him how to love through action."


Grandfather recalls his father. "His father loved him and his siblings and would protect them at all costs but did not express love outwardly. His father was the end of generations where men were tough as nails, a byproduct of how hard life was to live. His father did free carpentry for the widows and elderly in the area, not what you would expect from such a tough man. Nearing the end of his life, his father mellowed to the point where struggling to show emotion toward his children was gone. His father must have known the end was near as he had given him a long embrace the last time they were together."


Watching as Tim climbed onto his bicycle for the trip home, he was pleased that the future was going to be in good hands.



"Remember Tim, when we were talking about learning in school."


Tim shakes his head and replies, "yes."


"There is more to learning than what we talked about should be taught in schools."


"If you look at mistakes, they are only mistakes if you do not learn from them. Mistakes are a valuable learning tool. What you learn from one mistake can be spread over many situations."


"Learning is an additive process meaning you keep adding to what you have learned before; you don't replace previous learning."


Grandfather explained, "never in history has so much knowledge been available to us for decision making. A wise man will learn from the people who came before."


"We all have our way of learning; pay attention to how you learn best, and apply that when learning new things."


Tim, for me, learning has been a lifelong passion and something I enjoy.



Grandfather and Tim sitting on the porch on a hot summer afternoon, begin talking about family history. Grandfather wants Tim to understand he is not responsible for the decisions of his ancestors.


"Tim, we live in a time where some people want to hold others living today responsible for the lives and actions of their ancestors. They lived in a different world with different values and beliefs. They made choices based on the information they had at the time. And just like us, they were shaped by the events of their time. You are not responsible for the actions of your ancestors." 


"Take the civil war as an example; many people have ancestors who fought for the confederacy. For them, the bravery of their ancestor is something to be admired. Yet there are plenty of people, rather than letting someone be proud, who will make an opinion such as, you mean you support a traitor. A totally unnecessary comment meant to try and shame the person and elevate the status of the commentor showing a lack of maturity on their part. Bringing the civil war into the present as something to be fought all over again, not something to be learned from. Not one person living today can really understand what was happening all those years ago."


"History is filtered by time. Every generation between you and the events of history adds its filter to the interpretation of events. So you can see why history is never over. I find you have to look at a variety of sources to get an accurate idea of historical events."


"Remember, you are a witness to the history of your time. Your interpretation of what you have witnessed is how you will pass history to future generations. Other people will have a different understanding of the same events than you. When you see the differences, then you begin to understand why history is not set in stone."



Tim nodded his head in understanding as his grandfather continued. "It's so important to be honest with people because once you lose that trust, it's hard to get it back."


He leaned back in the rocking chair and looked out at the horizon. "There are times when it is necessary to withhold pieces of information for various reasons, and sometimes silence is golden, but not being deceptive is critical."


"People can tell when you're pretending," Grandfather said. "They can see right through you. Be yourself, and people will respect you for it."


Timmy thought about this for a while. Sometimes, it was hard to be himself; he wanted to be like all the other kids. But maybe Grandfather was right; being true to himself was more important in the end.



"Grandfather, how does a person become mature?"


"First of all, Tim, maturity is not a way of acting; it is a way of living. Many people think that they are mature if they act a certain way and talk a certain way. In the end, these people reveal that they lack real maturity through their actions. Maturity comes from experience and learning from the experiences. Even the office clown can be the most mature person in the room when things go wrong, and their experience can lead others through a crisis."


"Being able to know the things you can change and the things you cannot is an essential step in becoming mature. "


"Mature people don't just act a certain way; they live their lives learning and applying the learning to situations as they arise. "


"Just be yourself and remember that maturity doesn't mean life isn't fun; it means knowing when to work and when to play. When to get involved in situations and when to step back and let someone else lead. Do not try to be mature; let it come naturally."



Grandfather and Tim were sitting on the porch watching the puffy summer clouds go by. The neighbors from the farm down the road had just left. Grandfather remarked that they had just celebrated 50 years together. 


Tim asks, "How can that be possible?"


"You know," grandfather said, "the key to a long and happy married life together is becoming best friends. It seems so simple, but so many couples do not seem to understand that bond."


"He observed how many relationships fail because couples cannot transition from puppy love into real love. They get lost in their own feelings and don't show they care by showing love through action. In other words, their actions are selfish and not caring."


Grandfather explained how respect and trust for each other make all the difference. "Respect is key in any relationship. If you and your partner do not respect each other, the relationship will crumble, resulting in fussing and fighting. Trust is also essential; if you and your partner do not trust each other, there's no point in being together. Not trusting your partner leads to always being on edge, trying to catch them in some problem."


"It all seems so simple, but it takes practice. Life has many ups and downs, and how each partner handles them is key to a lasting relationship."


Live Humbly

"Tim, a part of living humbly means treating others as you want to be treated. Even though we do our best, we all fail at this from time to time," he said. "And when we do, it doesn't make us bad people. The important thing is to recognize when we fail and to use that failure for improvement. However, some people forget this rule or simply do not care about it. Some even fail to understand what treating others as you want to be treated means."


Grandfather continued. "There's one thing I learned along the way that is really important; you can't do it alone. You need the help of others in order to grow." He paused for a moment, looking out at the fields stretching out before them. "It's not easy to let go of our egos and accept help from others,"


"A lot of people get caught up in their own lives, and they forget about what's really important," he said. "They start thinking that the display of money and material possessions are the most important things when in reality, those things don't mean anything without happiness and peace of mind." 


"It can be tough," Grandfather said, "to find the right balance between being humble and bragging." He paused for a moment, then continued. "There are times when we need to express our accomplishments. But it's important to do it in the right way so that we don't come across as arrogant or self centered."


"It's not about how much money you have or how famous you are," Grandfather said. "It's about being content with what you have and who you are."


Life Goals 

Tim's question has grandfather looking back over the years. All of the goals he had set and reached and failed to reach. In the twilight of his life, most of them seem so silly.


Grandfather responds to Tim's question. "I have observed that the path to achieving goals happens in a much more timely manner when you elevate others to success along with yourself. When you advance others, they will be more loyal and more likely to go above and beyond in assisting you."


"One person's goal is another person's waste of time. Be self-aware that your goals may seem a waste of time to others before you criticize someone else's ambitions."


"It may seem to you that many people do not have goals. You may be surprised that their singular goal is to have a well-lived life. By not complicating life, these people tend to be happier than people constantly setting goals."


"It is important to thank and reward the people who help you achieve your goals. Many people who have completed their goals are not well respected due to misusing others while accomplishing their goals."



"It's like this," Grandfather said. "When you work for a business, you are making a contract with them. You trade your skills, time, and knowledge for their pay and compensation package. Understanding that concept puts you mentally on a level footing with the company. Not getting intimidated by your employer makes your work experience much better.


Too many people look at jobs almost as if the company owns them. You're not working for the company; you're working for yourself. Think of yourself as a business and the company as your customer. The end goal is the success of your customer. Think about if you are doing your best work for yourself, then your worth is not defined by the whims of the company."


Tim leaned back in his chair and took a deep breath. "So you're saying that I should never let a company control me?"


"Tim, a company that values its employees, does not try to control them; it works to make them successful at their jobs. A company that does not value its employees manages them by making them comply with rules. When possible, look for a company that has a reputation for valuing employees."


"We live in a world where people try to one-up each other. They don't appreciate the hard work others put in to make something great. They feel like elevating their own work elevates them in the workplace. Highlighting how destructive it is to tie your job satisfaction to the approval of others. Do the best job you can because it is the right thing to do."


End of Life

With a faraway look in his eyes, grandfather explains the cycle of life. He tells of how everything is born, grows old, and dies, And though it is often difficult to say goodbye, death is not something to be feared. It is simply another step in the journey.


"Tim, it is a near certainty in your lifetime, you will experience losing a family member or a friend unexpectedly. The sudden loss leaves a hole in your life that takes time to fill. The shock of what has happened leaves you searching for a reason why they are gone. Sometimes you have to accept the fact that there is no understandable reason why."


"Chances are your parents are going to grow old just like I have. When they feel the end is approaching, they may want to discuss the inevitable. Do not run from the discussion; they need to talk about the next stage in life and what it means. By listening, you will be the better for it."


"After losing a friend or family member, people are so tied up in the busy of laying them to rest that remembering who said what and who was visiting is often lost. Once being busy is over, the person is left alone to deal with their feelings and memories. The time to send a card or visit is when they are feeling alone and left behind."


"You know Tim, I am reaching the next phase of the cycle of life, and you are just beginning the first phase of yours. At a time not of my choosing, I will be gone. I want you to be aware and prepared."


With tears streaming down his face, Tim gives his grandfather a hug.


Defining Success

Tim and grandfather are sitting on the front porch, watching lighting streak across the sky and counting the seconds until the sound of thunder rolls in. Tim turns to grandfather and asks," does success really mean being rich?"



"Unfortunately, Tim, too many Americans define success as the acquisition of wealth and material goods. Being wealthy is not a defect on its own; it is the life lived on the way to becoming wealthy that is important. Too many Americans tend to pay no attention to what they are doing to others in their quest for "success."



"People who define success as becoming wealthy usually never feel like they have enough money. Wealthy people are usually less satisfied with their lives. They feel they have to justify their "success" in a public manner. "



"My observation is people who do not define success as the acquisition of money and things go through life much happier. Success for them are things like raising a family, taking pride in their work, being able to assist others when needed."



In the end, you have to be the one to define what success means to you, and you have to be happy with it. As you go through life, your idea of being successful is going to change."



"Grandfather, what is a legacy?" asked Tim.


"A legacy is the effect you have on the world after you are gone, good or bad," replied Grandfather. "You do not get to say what your legacy will be, but you can affect it greatly by the life that you live. In other words, it is other people's memories that are your legacy." 


"Many people spend their lives living selfishly; as the end of life approaches, they rush around trying to guarantee what their legacy is going to be; by then, it is too late. A legacy is developed over a long time."


"So, Tim, live the best life you can, and don't worry about your legacy; it is not up to you, but your life is."


The end and a New Beginning

Grandfather rocks gently on the front porch, looking out across the yard; the leaves of autumn blow in a swirling pattern. He is missing the summer afternoons when Tim would zoom up the driveway on his bike. As Tim grew into his teenage years, the porch visits grew further and further apart. He recalls the last porch visit the day before Tim's high school graduation. 


After Tim had gone off to college, he was much too busy working to pay for school to spend time on the porch during the summers. Tim is now working his first job after college, and he could not be more proud of him. 


Feeling tired, grandfather closes his eyes, and darkness closes in.


Tim is relaxing at home when his phone rings. It is dad calling to tell him that his grandfather has passed away. A visiting neighbor found him in his rocking chair on the porch. The neighbor said grandfather looked at peace.


Tim is crying when he hangs up the phone. Waves of regret on not seeing more of his grandfather at the end are sweeping over him. Sure he would see him at his parent's house on holidays, but those were not the same as the front porch visits had been.


After the funeral, Tim wants to be alone. Knowing about the summer afternoons, his dad had told him he could have his grandfather's porch rocker. While the family gathers at his parent's house, Tim heads for his grandfather's house to get the rocker.


Pulling into his grandfather's driveway, Tim sees the rocker on the porch looking ever so lonely. He immediately bursts into tears. He is overwhelmed by the thought that what once was will never be again. 


Trembling, he climbs the porch steps and reaches the rocker. As he stands in front of it, the rocker slowly starts to rock. Startled, he takes a step back, confused as to why the rocker would be moving. He puts a hand on the rocker, but it does not slow its rocking.


On a whim, he blurts out, grandpa? The chair increases its speed until it matches the rhythm of how his grandfather once rocked. He whispers, "grandfather, I remember; I did not forget," in a shaky voice. "I have all of your lessons in my heart." "I love you, grandfather." 


The rocker starts to slow and reaches a stop. Feeling himself relax, he whispers, "rest in peace, grandfather." Assured that grandfather knows, he picks up the chair and heads for his pickup.


With the chair safely stored in the back, he slides into the driver's seat with memories flooding in. He sits and stares at the front porch; he swears he can hear his grandfather's voice, "all is well, Tim, all is well."  


Sliding the shifter into reverse, he backs out of the driveway. He puts the truck in drive and heads away, not planning on ever returning as that chapter of his life has now ended. It is now time for him to learn lessons like his grandfather to pass on to his grandchildren. 

The Visit

A man in his mid forties pulls up to a small country cemetery entrance. He pauses for just a minute before proceeding inside. How long has it been, he wonders. He had moved from the area many years ago. He had married, started a family, and was in the middle of his working life. His parents had moved to his mother's family farm hundreds of miles away. His siblings had all followed job opportunities across the country. In fact, there was no reason to return as his parents and siblings had all moved away. No reason to return but one.


This was a trip he had been planning to make for a long time. Somehow the busyness of life kept getting in the way. One day, work and events taking place in the country he loved were just too much. He had to get away to the one place he knew he could find peace and clear his mind. Knowing the details of his childhood, his wife encouraged the trip and gave him her blessing.


So as not to disturb the peace of the moment, he slowly drives the narrow pathway towards the reason for his trip. Feeling emotional, he stops not far from a headstone, just beginning to show the passage of time. 


Grabbing a paper from the passenger seat, he exits the car. Walking towards the headstone, he is pleased that the small cemetery has been well cared for. 


He sits on the ground alongside the grave, feeling grateful that he has at last been able to fulfill this journey. He stares at the blue sky and watches the white puffy clouds of summer drift by. How long, he murmurs to himself has it been since he enjoyed a blue summer sky. 


He suddenly feels tired as the weight of the world seems to slip from his shoulders. Leaning back, his eyes close, and he dreams of summers gone by, grateful for the many lessons learned on those warm summers days. 


Sensing the sun is beginning the long slow climb to the horizon, he stands up to leave. Remembering the paper in his pocket, he pulls it out and finds a rock on the ground. He places the paper on the headstone and weighs it down with the rock. 


My grandfather has passed away

I remember sitting on the porch with him

We would watch the world go by

I can't help but feel a sense of emptiness

As I look at grandfather's empty chair

It seems like only yesterday he was here

His gentle voice and warm embrace

Now only memories remain

He loved to tell stories, share his wisdom

And I would always beg him to continue 

How I wish I could see him once more

To tell him thank you 

Grandfather, you are loved and missed

© Alan Simpson

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