In the flickering light of the theater, were three eager faces, transfixed, mesmerized by the screen; cradled in each lap, a priceless treasure – a drink, popcorn, candy. Perched on Daddy’s lap the two-year-old carefully, reverently, poked her treasure through an ear-to-ear grin.
Yep, hooked she was, by her first real movie. Midway through the story, with her popcorn and drink gone, Denali grew restless. Perhaps the movie dragged, maybe she was tired; regardless the toddler’s attention strayed. Then she spotted me and in mere moments, abandoned Dad’s lap for mine. She wriggled and squirreled around until comfortable, and then her body grew limp. Just when it seemed that she had drifted to sleep, she stirred.
“Cold,” she whispered, at home, the code word for blanket and sleep. Fumbling in the dark, Dad located her coat. Wrapped snuggly around her legs it would have to do. So there I was, in a dark theater, granddaughter number three on my lap, watching the latest Disney film, immersed in the story, my mind drifted.
“How strange life is.” I thought. The toddler’s rhythmic breathing provided a surprising tonic to yesterday’s news. In far-off Alaska, Louise Castor, Denali’s great-grandmother died; a day earlier so did Ann Burch, the young wife of my business partner.
“God gives, and God taketh away,” popped into my head.
Granted, treatises on Job and his trials have filled libraries. While the question of why bad things happen to good people, has kept theologians busy for decades. Yet, there in the dark, that was not my train of thought. No, today mine were lighthearted, as I reflected on the nature of life, its ironies, triumphs, and tragedies.
Sadly, I realized that Denali would never know her great-grandmother, and in Loogootee, a child will be born who will never know their grandmother. In the limited sense of physical contact, this is true, yet that is but one aspect of life. They will have no first-hand memories of these women; nevertheless, they will learn to know them.
Since time immemorial, humans have been compelled to remember their ancestors, to pass along their family story – from cave paintings to oral histories, to photographs and keepsake boxes. We innately possess a need to remember. In fact, as survivors, it is our duty to keep these memories alive, but it does not end there. Each family member, each friend, also carries a part of Ann or a part of Louise. In ways unseen, those parts subtly alter our thoughts and actions. We are the products of our past relationships, family, and friends. A fact we should never ignore.
Therefore, for now, I will pause to make memories; to play on the floor, to read, to sing, to compose wild stories, to make animal sounds, to cook, to bake, to build tent cities, and to draw pink monsters. However, most of all, I will quietly cuddle them while I can.
David L. Dahl
Hello, I’m David Dahl. When I’m not being Bugga (grandpa), I do some woodworking and write children’s books. My latest is Olivia’s Story: Protector of the Realm.
On my website: buggasbooks.com I am running a Holiday Sale, all books are 30 to 40% off.
Order by the 13th to get priority or ground delivery in time to beat Santa.