I once was asked what my most prized possession as a child would be.
After pondering through the years, I couldn't think of anything else but one special "thing".
As a young girl, I would spend alot of my summers with my grandparents.
I loved my time with them both...but there was something extra special about my grandfather.
Maybe it was the fact that he thought I hung the moon...or he could "fix" just about anything...or he never met a stranger...he taught me everything he could--from diggin up potatoes in the garden like a treasure hunt, to changing the oil in that 1973 Cadillac, to trimming the hedges just right so they would grow extra hearty the next year.
Ahhhh, I remember the day so well.
It wasn't a birthday or Christmas or anything extra special like that...it was just an ordinary day.
I walked into my "pawpaw's" house and I heard that most precious sound of him calling my name. I loved to hear him say my name with that old southern drawl...I was onlyl 8 or 9 years old at the time but I remember the sounds and the smells of my grand-dad.
I can still smell the Old Spice shaving lotion (the kind you put on your face with a brush...slap slap slap...and then easily shave it off with a straight edge razor). And I remember the sound of my name: "Dah-rah" with that wonderful slow, drawn out southern charm...it melted my heart every time.
I walked into the room where he was waiting for me.
He was holding a box.
He reached it out toward me...I didn't understand at first.
I knew money was taken very seriously and it wasn't a special day to receive a present.
He said, "here I've got something for you..."
I thought, "What could it be?" My little heart began pounding with anticipation...I gently took it from his withered hands and began to open it...with great care and somewhat hesitation...
"Well, go on" he said, "open it, it's just for you..."
My heart beat faster with each tug and pull...I thought I would explode.It wasn't every day, in fact it was rare that we were given something, just because...
As I pulled open the last flap, I saw it...
I saw a shiney, sparkling, black and silver, brand new, never used...it was unbelievable---just what I wanted! I was breathless!
It was a Zebco 202 fishing reel!
It was the most beautiful thing I had ever see!.
I looked at the box, and then looked up at my grand-dad. He reached toward the box to pull the new reel out, but I grabbed him first.
I just wanted to hold him...I knew it was a special day now.
A very special day.
As I stood there embraced with my grand-dad, I could feel our hearts beating together...and then I felt... a tear hit my forehead.
It was a special time indeed,..."our" special time.
He sat down beside me, holding.that box.
He pulled that new reel out.
It was the best!
He showed me every single part and how each part worked. He made sure I knew that it was worth a lot more than just money. "Now you take care of this, you hear? It's your's. Your very own..."
I understood. I understood exactly.
He went to the door, with his crooked little walk, and put on his straw hat, the one that was tattered through the years, the one that had his fingerprint embedded in the rim.
He held his crooked hand out toward mine, and as he grasped my small hand, my heart beat almost out of my chest.
This was "our" special day.
Me and my grand-dad.
Off we went, down to the lake. He caerfully, patiently, lovingly, showed me how to put that new reel onto a "not so new" rod (but who cares about that ole' rod)...
He showed me how to put the hook onto the fishing line with just the right knot...you had to take the line around the knot exactly 8 times, no more and no less and then feed it through to secure it into a fail-proof, lifetime warranty, fish gettin' knot.
He showed me how to put the plastic worm onto that big, scary hook...a 9" green worm that would catch a monster.
He would say: "now look at this here, here..." I loved when he said that. I never understood why he needed two "here's" but it didn't matter...he was perfect in every way.
Then he grabbed 2 woven, lawn chairs. He took them (and us) down to the lake.
He opened my chair, it was green and in good shape...he opened his, it was white but it was getting tattered and torn through the years... just like him.
The words stopped.
He patted my seat as if to say, "sit"...and of course, I did.
He sat down andpulled his chair close to mine.
He gently held the new rod and reel in his hands.
He clicked the button and got ready to cast...he held it just right.
He tilted it backward ever so slightly past his balding head, wearing that straw fishing hat, and with a jerk of his wrist...click, the release, and then, "swoosh", the sound of a perfect cast...
I watched as the line flew across the air, as if in slow motion, and then hit the water ever so slight, with the softest "ker-plunk".
The worm hit the water and dived downward in a spinning spiral.
It was perfection...
sitting right beside me.
It was my turn.
His gentle hand, withered and worn, put the rod and reel into my hand.
He sat back in his chair, tilted his hat over his eyes, and sat with his head resting peacfully on the top of the chair.
He looked toward the heavens, with peace, and only the sound of air breathing through his slightly opened mouth.
He didn't move.
I tried to remember everything I had just seen.
And then I tried...the click, the tilt, the twist of the wrist, the release at just the right moment, the line hissing through the air, and the sweet sound of the "ker-plunk" in the water.
I did it!
I jumped in the air and looked back at my "pawpaw"--- he hadn't moved...
but underneath that tilted hat, I saw a half-cocked grin...
and a single tear falling from his chin.
I just stood there.
There were no words between us, none were needed...sometimes, you just know-even if you're only 8 years old.
We both knew---together---this was a special day.
He stood- I reeled in my line- and he took my small, childish hand into his withered, wrinkled, and worn hand.
We walked back to the house, hand in hand--- as one.
I took one last look over my shoulder at the lake behind me, and then I looked up at my grand-dad...
I looked down at his hand, embraced with mine...
I had my most prized possession,...
it was the hand that held mine...
This story dedicated to Ennis Shaw Earwood - "Perfection"
THese are my THoughts,