My mind is set on you today. It's not that I need you; it's that I miss you terribly, fiercely. If you sat on your flower covered porch feeding the squirrels from your dappled hands this evening, I swear I'd get in my car and drive to you; just to hear you say, "We-ell" followed by a sweet "ha, cu, cu, cu" laugh. And that smile; it just doesn't leave your face unless you stare off in the distance toward the bark of a strange dog.
I picture your jet black hair unrolled in waves all coming together in a hidden barrette close to the nape of your pale white neck. I can't understand why, but I don't smell the stale odor of cigarettes on you, but more a somewhat mossy body smell overshadowed by Jergens hand lotion. You pat my knee now and then describing the terrible storm which blew your bird feeder clear out of the tree. You make a dinner, so simple and delicious from white flour, salt , pepper, eggs, chicken, broth, and meaty scarlet tomatoes. You serve it on the same Formica plates with wheat stalks and flowers painted under the plastic. Chocolate pie for dessert.
You say to me as you cradle Peace in gently in your arms, "This baby smells so good. So clean. Not sour. You take such good care of your child." Later you dispense advice involving beer as a cure all for breastfeeding problems.
I miss sitting and watching the artistry of your simple and plain days. Observing while you work, wash dishes, cook, sit, scrub, sew, fold laundry, smoke, fix your hair, apply your makeup. Call me nuts, but I as a child, I was always intrigued when you pulled out hairs from your chin with tweezers in that magnified mirror in the early morning hours.
What's that soap opera you had to see everyday which you referred to as your "stories"?
When I wake up to the house and my bed quaking and the train whistle, you say, "Well, sleepyhead. It's nearly 8:00am. I wondered if you'd stay in bed all day."
And I so miss the way your bird feeder connected to a string from your kitchen windowsill to shake off "fat old bluejays" and squirrels so the little birds would have a chance at breakfast.
How can I love you more than ever when you've been gone for so long? You wouldn't be on your porch glider watching cars go by if I made my way to Berea now; I could only visit your gravestone. And that is not what I want to think of.
So I listen to the lyrics of the song over and over again which have brought you so close to me this moment.
At the wide open vista
A the wide open sweet someday
Climbing over the ridge top
To finally see the view
That none of us ever have known
Crossing over to home
In the vista
I don't wish for death, but I want to be near you. I want to be home with you again. Not to do anything, but just to be for a time. I feel impatient for us all to be Home together. I want you to know my children. I want them to make pictures for you and have you coo over what fine people they are. I want my mother to be able to ask those questions she never got to ask of you. I want to hear about your covered wagon ride to Florida too. I'd like to cook one meal for you, because I never got to. I'd like to ride the chair lift next to you to the top of the Great Smoky Mountains and have our picture made together.
So, what can I do except keep listening to that song considering your wide open vista? You gave me a love stronger than death. Do you see?
The Minister Who Invented Camping in America - William H. H. Murray was a wealthy Congregationalist minister and an outdoors enthusiast. Every summer he went to the Adirondack Mountains, often with hi...
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