Monday, May 30, 2011

An airman and his wife.

After reading one of my blogs to him he shyly looks up and states that he too has many stories to tell - a thousand histories to write. I glance over at this man, and I have to admit I'm intrigued. He reminds me so much of my late grandfather, a man I wish I had taken more time to know. I was too naive to realize how awesome my own grandfather's life had been, how much he could have told me, the stories he had himself. So I am compelled to listen when Scott's Papa mentions this to me. He has recently received a friends autobiography and he is motivated to write one himself. This man I see once a month -a retired airman, a pilot from World War 2 - needs to tell someone about the life he has led and the things he has seen; the people he has met, and the love he has cultivated and known for decades - so I do what anyone would - I offer to help.

My kids love them dearly - this couple they call Grandma and Papa - two unique personalities that move so fluidly together - in the ways that they speak, the laughter they create - that it's apparent the many years they have spent with one another. They are eachother's history - without one the other would be lost - they are that entwined together. My children enjoy their company and are always eager for the next visit. But I want more than that. I want my kids to know them. I want them to understand that they aren't just a black and white photograph saved for historical relevance, or a name on a family tree. They are a history so invaluable that without them my children's lives would not exist now. Fate has thrown these people into my life, but love has kept them there. If not for the choices they made half a century ago - my life would be drastically different now.

His wife - Agnes - has been listening in. She has a thousand things to say - a million anecdotes to imbue on anyone who will listen. But she keeps herself silent. She doesn't mention writing her own autobiography other than to chastise herself for the lack of schooling she has received - for the written word that will never be set to paper. But of course her history will be told, at least a great portion of it; afterall, Lyle's life was lived alongside hers for so long - it's inevitable. And when it comes to those hundred stories he can tell, I have no doubt she will be standing right behind him, dancing that dance only they can waltz together, while informing him that he's remembering it wrong and not to forget all that happened next - their story to tell - my honor to listen...and write.

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