Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A Tribute to Abe and Ruth

This blog claims to be a literary investigation of seeking and dwelling, adventure and home, and the tension between the two in my heart and mind. Recently, however, I have reflected on how my thoughts, those published here and the ones incessantly rolling about my head, are mostly devoted to the former. Even when discussing home, my disposition continues to be that of a seeker. Questions, a critical eye, and a desire to discover the meaning found in monotony is its own adventure.

Yet occasionally I am gifted with an opportunity to truly dwell. To rest in the joy of a moment that does not require analysis. A moment so obviously good that no seeking is really necessary. Only dwelling is asked.

Last week I was at a family reunion celebrating my grandparents' 90th birthdays. Kin from Oregon, Indiana, Saskatchewan, Michigan, and Pennsylvania gathered, reminisced, and reconnected. To celebrate the lives my grandparents made for their children and children's children, we sang a song written by their youngest son, Dave Lefever. Old stories, worn and beloved like a favorite pair of jeans, found a melody among a ragamuffin choir:

Milking cows on a cold winter morning
You would give a hundred dollars if you could, to still be sleeping
But with the pulse of the milkers and the warmth you would find
Being right there with your father you could catch a glimpse of the divine

Hot afternoon shelling mountains of peas

Under the shade of the birch tree with a little breeze
Mother made up games so nobody would moan
We talked about whatever and no one ever checked their iPhone

Chorus: Those memories seem so far away, though in some ways they seem so near

                We can't go back but we remember the Love that brought us here

Riding in the night to a new home far away

She cried and cried to leave her friends and face another day
Her daddy at the wheel was patient with her sorrow 
He knew about the loneliness of an unknown tomorrow


We laughed until our bellies hurt, we laughed with each other

And the one who said the craziest things was our oldest brother
He gave pop songs brand new words and sang them with a straight face
Like..."I believe in Melvin, he sets the pace"

It's not too hard to see where he got that silly bone

With a dad who'd tie a string to a purse and lay it along the road
And a mother who would chase us all around the room
And dissolve in fits of laughter while wielding a wooden spoon


A girl will push the limits, it comes as no surprise

Icy roads won't keep her home when she's got to socialize 
Mother and Daddy were away and to reason she would not yield
She never made the party but got acquainted with a farmer's field

With a parent and a teen the heated words could fly

She was headed toward the front door seething, "Let me live my life"
Sitting at the kitchen bar no more did he speak
He just caught her as she walked by, pulled her down and kissed her cheek


This song could last for hours or days so we better bring it home

Now the grandkids have stories too...

Of catching the bus and the Jubilee Shop and fishing

Of pretzels and cold fresh milk and Grandma humming hymns
Grandpa's teeth and a bobcat and wild swing rides
Bible trivia, crokinole and that spicy Old Spice
Farm stories and deer tales and watching birds
and Grandma exclaiming, "Abe, that's not a word!"

If you ever wonder where the years have gone

Look at all of us and smile or cry, and know we'll carry on 

Abe and Ruth we will treasure the love that's growing here

Abram Thomas and Ruth Naomi
Daddy and Mother
Grandpa and Grandma

My heritage is certainly not perfect; no one's is. Yet I pray I never forget I am about as blessed as they come.

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