Speculative Christian

It had been twenty-four years since she’d last seen it, but the place looked exactly the same. The furniture was old but well kept, except for Grandpa’s recliner. Grandma had done her best, she was sure, but the worn and slightly stained arms told a story of football games and wings and late night PB&J sandwiches. 

She wandered through the living room looking at all the photographs. There were many from the latter years, Grandma in the garden posing next to a plant that had really flourished under her green thumb, Grandpa standing next to the vintage muscle car he had worked so many summers to restore. There were some with the family taken at the beach house or at the lake on the boat. She smiled as some of those memories floated through her mind. 

The photographs on the mantle caught her eye next. These were some of her favorites. There were black and white photos of them as a young couple, just starting out. One showed them on their first date at a carnival with another couple. They were all so young and so happy. The next one showed them after they had gotten engaged. Grandma glowed as she snuggled in close to Grandpa with her head on his shoulder and her hand displaying the ring on his chest. Grandpa looked so proud, both so in love. Further down was a picture of the two of them by a ‘57 Chevy, she in her wedding dress and him in a suit and tie. Tin cans were tied to the back of the car and her grandma held a bouquet in her white gloved hand. They were beaming as they readied themselves for the adventures their lives would soon be taking them on. This last picture was in technicolor making the picture even prettier. The teal and white colors of the car showing through, the blue of both her grandparents eyes and the soft baby pink of her grandma's bouquet brought the picture to life even more. 

She wandered into the bedroom and opened the closet. This would probably be the place to start sorting first. She pulled out a handful of dresses neatly hanging on metal hangers. Her grandma had probably had these for over a decade. She was always so careful to care for everything she had. Grandma always said, “The best way to show you're thankful for something is to take special care of it. The more you care for blessings, the more blessings will come your way.” 

She had always been full of ‘life lesson’ one-liners like that. She was famous for ones like “Garbage in, garbage out.” and “Ten minutes of sunshine will make your soul shine.” She was always diligent about eating vegetables (mostly from her own lovingly attended garden) and getting out in the fresh air and sunshine every day. She said exercise was good for the blood flow, and blood flow was good for the heart, body and mind. 

The memories of her grandma made her smile. For the next hour she sorted and reminisced as she gathered and boxed her grandma's clothing from her closet. Once that was done she moved on to the dressers and nightstand. Everything was pretty easy to go through. Her grandma hated clutter and loved organization. She never liked things to “just pile up”. Her brothers were coming tomorrow to sort through grandpa’s things and then once sorted they would go through everything together and decide what they wanted to keep. 

The kitchen was the next stop. Here she had to sit for just a while, her memories tricking her nose into “smelling” the kitchen as it was when she was a child. Warm bread baking in the oven, or the smell of apples cooking down for apple butter that would then go on the warm bread. Mmmm...nothing was better than that on a lazy Saturday morning! This is where she had spent so much time as a teen, her grandma showing her how to cook everything from scratch. They sorted pinto beans, snapped green beans, and peeled potatoes. She taught her how to snip the leaves from spices to add to homemade soups. They would simmer all day, the wait totally worth it once you sat down to dinner. The cakes she would bake the family for their individual birthdays would have your mouth watering all the way to your next birthday! 

Grandpa was not too shabby in the kitchen himself. He would go fishing and bring back the day's catch. He taught her how to use the outside sink to clean the fish. The next day would be spent baking the fish in all kinds of herbs, slowly letting the flavors sink in. Come hunting season he would slow cook venison and add some of the root vegetables from grandma’s garden. She would help her grandma make her buttery, moist cornbread to go with it. Sometimes she would wait until her grandma’s head was turned and she’d lick some of the cornbread batter. It was almost as good as cake batter! Grandma always pretended like she didn’t see but she knew better. 

She lovingly looked over some of their favorite pots and pans, wooden stirring spoons, measuring cups with the numbers worn off. She found the metal flour sifter that grandma would use when sprinkling out flour on the counter to make biscuits. She hugged it to herself breathing in the faint waft of the flour. 

Her grandparents were going to be missed so much. They had brought so much love and joy into the lives of all their grandchildren. Taught each and every one of them valuable things about life itself and just the actual living of life. She hated to part with even one single item that they had owned and loved but she knew it wasn’t the items that were bringing her joy. It was the memories connected with them. 

They had lived a long, fruitful life and had loved each other and their families until the very end. And now...now they had made the final lap, the victory lap and they were in the arms of Jesus. 

 And that was all that mattered.

November 18, 2020 22:11

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RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

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