Monday, March 14, 2011

He Never Asks

Known, 2011

As the scene comes into view I am looking down at my small feet, they are tan, bare. It must be summer. Carly Simon's No Secrets was released in 1972, so I am 4 years old. We are in our new home, a bungalow in a tidy little neighborhood with tree lined streets and small square lawns. We are still a family.

There are women in my living room, they are young, slim, and tan. Yes, it's definitely summer. They are whispering and giggling, about me. Mom wants to know what it is about this Carly song that brings me to tears. I don't want to discuss it, it's too hard. She's enlisted their help. Mom rests the needle and it begins. They all look at me. They are a little worried, but also find my quivering lip adorable. Mom stops the music and they question me. I'm silent. These are my feelings and I don't want to share them.

I quietly think of Grandpa. The lyrics speak of someone named Robin and Carly sings until we're old. The music is sad and haunting, but draws me in with its beauty. I imagine Robin has died or will die soon. Getting old means dying and I don't like it, I don't like it at all. Grandpa is the only person I know with grey hair. I know he is old. My other grandpa is already gone and I fear this one is going to go too. I don't want him to go. We belong together, we always have. He takes me to the park. He soft boils eggs for me, places them on toast, and cuts the toast into little squares. He understands me and never asks for more than I can give.


  1. This made me smile too...and cry.
    My daughter is blessed to have a similar relationship with my father. And my son --some songs make him cry. He can't explain it either. Beautiful writing as always.

  2. When I was small I cried whenever my mother sang "You are my sunshine." Now I sing it to my children. Thank you for sharing the memory and reminding me of my own.

  3. What a deeply touching post. Today would have been my grandfather's 92nd birthday, so he's been in my thoughts all day. I sent my grandmother a little card and she just called to say how it made her day. I loved speaking with her about him. It's important to remember the loved ones we lost along the way.

  4. There are too few people in our lives who never ask more than we can give.

  5. Beautiful memory.

    i didn't have the Grandfather but I had the Grandmother who taught me to read when I was three. Greatest gift I ever received.

    She died when I was 7, she was 94.

    I was just thinking of her yesterday.Now you've helped me think of her today.

    Another gift.

    xo Jane

  6. beautiful memories and sharing

    such memories are treasures

  7. I wonder how you feel about getting old and dying now? I know I had many fears about it when I was younger. I definitely see things differently now. I accept and I expect to get older; and I'm greying. And that's okay.

  8. oh, what a treasured memory of your grandfather. and thank you for your wise kind words on my last post. "enjoy the little things" so true. happy week to you.

  9. When you're a child it is so nice to have an adult who understands. Glad you had your grandpa - I think it makes all the difference.

    Now I need to look up the lyrics to this song. (secret: music can make me cry instantly. I am gone when I hear minor notes, mournful tunes, Natalie Merchants beautiful voice...shhh)

  10. This reminds me of my grandpa. Sometimes even now, it seems so wrong that the world should go on without him in it.

  11. I'm glad you were able to remember this moment. It's these tiny little lights that shine so brightly.

  12. beautiful writing, d. when i was a child, there was always a carly simon record playing.

  13. beautiful memory! warm hugs to you

  14. Hi Denise, it is nice to be back, and read your work. This lovely memoir piece reminds me of how close I had felt to my grandfather, and how the notion of death was somehow so close, and generated such fear---a sensation lost in the seeming immortality of the teens.

  15. Oh, I love this! It brought back memories. For me, it was "Billy, Don't Be A Hero" and my Papaw had already gone.

  16. So wonderful, and you know I love Carly Simon. I remember her music from 1972 - I was just barely 11 and learning to know what kind of music I liked. I loved James Taylor, Carly Simon, and Heart.

  17. Lovely, there is something very comforting coming to your posts, I always know the're going to make me sigh and smile.. x

  18. Such a beautiful, detailed memory.

  19. Sometimes keeping thoughts close to our hearts only come out later. Thank you for sharing this memory later with us.

  20. Melissa (countingdandelions), It's comforting to know these things repeat.

    Rachael, You have me analyzing You Are My Sunshine, wondering what brought on the tears, but that's yours. I'll let it be.

    Joanna, They live on through our memories.

    Michele, True.

    Jane, I know how you love your reading. She did a good thing.

    Mariana, I'd like to feel more positive. All of the wisdom we gain though our experiences is a gift. I'm working on it.

    Janis, Regarding your secret. I understand. Me too. I've had to leave Walgreens more than once. I'm still that little girl in so many ways.

    Stacy, It is strange, and a little sad, the way people come in and out of our lives, and the way we'll go one day too.

    melissa (tiny happy), My mom was always playing Carly Simon. I know the words to so many of her songs.

    nancy, I did feel differently in my teens. There were parts of me that disappeared for a while and then came back.

    elizabeth, I'm playing Billy right now. I found it on YouTube.

    Raina, My goodness. Memories. I remember loving Heart's Crazy on You.

  21. What a beautiful story.

    When I was little, I would think of my grandmother (who is slipping a little every day now) and cry sometimes...

  22. Lovely.

    So glad I found my way to you.

  23. oh denise... absolutely lovely.
    reading this i was reminded of the feeling i had about death when i was young. your grandfather sounds like the cutest little man... my grandmother cut my moist toast (from the egg) into those same squares. :)

  24. heartfelt.
    i've always missed grandparents, had not a-one! how did i survive that?

  25. this freaked me out when i read it. because this is perfectly what goes on inside of me that i cannot/will not express. i weep. thank you.

  26. so touching.
    i felt that way about my grandpa too.

  27. Indie.Tea, It is sad to hear of your grandmother slipping, but you are so lucky to still have her around.

    Lucy, Thank you.

    Leslie, Thank you. He was the greatest. Weren't those little squares the best?

    Nadine, It is amazing how we adapt.

    alison, You are welcome. Thank you for reading.

    Annje, Thanks : )

    Thanks, Lisa. Some of us are very lucky. I hope you are feeling better and ready for your trip. xx

  28. Such a moving post...and what a burden to carry so young. I don't think I fully grasped the concept of our mortality until much older...

  29. Rachel, I don't know what it was that had me grasping it so early, but I did, in my own small way, and I did not like it.

  30. How touching and sad and wonderful all at once.

    I've missed your writing. I've been scrolling up and down, drinking up all I've missed, and words fail me... I want to write a comment for every entry, and words are lulled into quiet awe by the magic of yours.

    I've missed you. Much.


  31. Thanks, Maria. I'm happy to know you are reading and enjoying. No need to find the words to comment, just let the posts drift around in your mind for a while. Let it feel restful.