i’ll tell it. you write it down.

“I seen my daddy die.”

He was a handsome man with handsome eyes. He wore suits and bowler hats and bright red ties. His boy would take after him. But he’d never know it.

Grandpa in the Bowler Hat

“A man’s gotta be in bad shape to do that sorta thing.” Darrell said it. “Makes you wonder if he hated himself or the world or the God that put him in it.” Pa pretended not to hear.

“Maybe he didn’t know he was doing it. That thing he done.” He had wondered about it before. I could see it in his face. “Maybe he just thought about it and it happened and he didn’t know how.”

I let him talk because he wanted to.

“I was just a boy.”

Because maybe no one ever had before.

“You know, you tell yourself what you have to. What you need to to get by. Then you leave it alone. ‘Cause if you think about it too much. Live it too often. You get stuck in your head. And that ain’t no good.”

Pa fidgeted and stood up. “You want some coffee?”

Some things are hard to say. Even harder to have said for you.

Maybe I was doing him wrong. Listening to what he didn’t want me to hear. But Darrell asked me to.

“Now, I got some stories for you sweetheart.” Darrell smiled and laughed and looked at his brother. “I’ve done a few things, and I’ve seen even more. I’ll tell ’em if you write ’em down.” I said I would. “No sir. Ain’t no man ought to be ashamed of the things he’s done. ‘Cause that’s what makes him.”

Darrell died two years ago. I waited too long and he was 75 and in a hurry. Every time I think about him, I think about the boy who watched his daddy die and what he told me in the Dairy Bar on Route 52.

“You just remember that young fellow in the red tie, and know the Lord makes a way. That’s what I do.”

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  • Beth
    Apr 24, 2006 at 1:30

    “You know, you tell yourself what you have to. What you need to to get by. Then you leave it alone. ‘Cause if you think about it too much. Live it too often. You get stuck in your head. And that ain’t no good.”

    Isn’t that the truth! Talk about Plain Simple English. I said “AMEN” after reading that.

  • bj
    Apr 24, 2006 at 4:44

    Maybe it wasn`t that your Pa cared for you to hear. But couldn`t stand to see his brothers pain.

  • Serena
    Apr 24, 2006 at 13:29

    Kind of gave me a wakeup call.

  • Deanna
    Apr 24, 2006 at 17:29

    Very nice. I am lucky to be getting down my dad’s stories now, but I always wonder what my grandma could have told me. After she died we found pictures and letters from a life we never knew of hers. Oh, to have the story!

  • Patricia
    Apr 24, 2006 at 21:04

    Thanks for dropping by. I love your blog. So much different from the staid Blogger blogs.

  • Chi
    Apr 24, 2006 at 21:28

    I was deeply touched when I read this. It is so profound & tugged at my heart.

    Thank you for visiting my blog today & leaving such a nice comment.

  • Bre
    Apr 24, 2006 at 21:48

    This was so touching and so beautifully written! Thanks for sharing it!

  • Chaotic Mom
    Apr 24, 2006 at 21:53

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. You didn’t go out and eat a hoard of candy, did you? 😉

    You blog is amazing. I was hooked by this first post of yours, loving the rest I’ve seen so far. Just this post alone makes me “want to read the rest of the book.”

    My pop died when I was 17. I think that’s why I’m compelled to listen to older folks tell stories, wishing I would have heard more from my dad, too. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

  • Amy
    Apr 24, 2006 at 22:19

    I’ve been trying to get my dad to write down all his stories. I may have to just start asking him questions. I’m afraid if no one does, then it will all be lost someday. (thank goodness his sisters are crazy involved w/ geneaology (sp?)) Anyway, great post.

  • hattigrace
    Apr 25, 2006 at 3:23

    Thanks for the reminder to listen more. Everybody has a story, if’n I’d just be listening. You say so much with so few words.

  • Bernita
    Apr 25, 2006 at 11:26

    You’re brilliant, girl.

  • LisaBinDaCity
    Apr 25, 2006 at 11:51

    Absolutely riveting.

  • bornfool
    Apr 25, 2006 at 14:33

    Loved the story. I’ve finally inspired my mom to write some of her stories so they won’t be lost to the ages.

  • Amy K
    Apr 26, 2006 at 3:09

    Reading this post was a bit ironic. I have been having irrational nightmares about my father dying ever since my nephew was born. My father is thankfully very healthy. Still, we are doing a father/daughter trip in June to Key West as we pay homage to Hemingway. Though I am excited for this trip, in my head I still get scared about one day losing him.

    Your writing style is excellent, Buffy.

  • kerri anne
    Apr 26, 2006 at 16:24

    I love the found stories. So heart-wrenching and real.

  • Fitzgerald
    Apr 26, 2006 at 19:09

    I got teary eyed over this one. PMS? Hormones? Perhaps. 🙂 But I think it was more or less because you have such a beautiful way with words.

  • Barbara
    Apr 26, 2006 at 22:45

    I enjoyed reading that story, the use of the spoken language of the characters made it very real. Thank you for sharing it, and thank you for stopping by my blog.

  • Stacey
    Apr 27, 2006 at 0:20

    Very moving story. You have a very interesting blog, and I love the pictures in your previous posts. Very beautiful. Thanks for visiting my blog and for leaving such a lovely comment.

  • Tonya
    Jul 12, 2006 at 14:41

    I love your writing. Ya got a way with the pen, ur uh keyboard.

  • Sammi
    Oct 4, 2006 at 7:16

    Like that old saying you dont know what you have till it is gone. Dont work so hard and everything on that to-do list will be there tomorrow. Spend time with your family and/or friends.Dont let life pass you by.