Friday, September 28, 2012

The Sentimental Gatherer

When my grandparents passed away, my Beloved and I bought their house. We lived there for ten years, and raised our baby family in the cute little cottage on Hillside Road. 

Not only did we spend those precious years at Hillside Road, but we inherited a few items to help us feather our nest. I've already written about my grandmother's garden I tended in her memory, but there were other, smaller trinkets I came to treasure. 

Amongst them, my grandfather's gardening tools. Not many, mind you and not as fancy as what you'd get at the hardware store today, but enough to add to my sentimental stash and keep me happy. As happy as he and I used to be when we chatted about our shared birthday in May. (Yes, I was born on my grandpa's birthday.)

Fast forward to a new century, and I still use the garden rake and heavy mattock for pottering around the garden at Crabapple House. I like to drag these old fashioned tools around and make no mistake, I don't need to lift weights on the days I weed or hoe. 

Wooden handles, weathered by Grandpa's hours of outdoor work, and smooth metal parts still work as well as they did thirty years ago. Only now, they get dirty in another garden and help bring order to our tangled rows. 

I've done lots of gardening this week. It's school holidays in Melbourne and the chance to knock off overdue gardening chores fits well with the sunnier days of spring. And while I weed around the well-rooted gifts from our families' gardens - hydrangeas and forget-me-nots, lilacs, figs and raspberries - my Grandpa follows. 

With every scrape and turn of soil, I remember his manicured garden. I remember the way he read his Bible, underlining words he wanted to remember most, and muttering ancient verses under his breath.  I remember his love of cheese, that one glass of beer he drank with his evening meal, and the yeasty smell of him as we kissed him goodbye. 

I never made it to his funeral. I was too caught up in the loss of my first baby, gone the same day my grandpa left us. But like the sentimental gatherer I am, I remember him as I work outside. And the other loved ones waiting for me in heaven alongside him. 

What do you remember most about a favourite grandparent?