Thursday, April 9, 2009

An Elegy For Grandma -- by Richard C. Speaks

Ruth Ellen Towle

Your pain is finally over
And now it’s time to let you go
We all know that’s how you wanted it
Because you told us so

You were love and strength to everyone
You fed the poor and helped the weak
You were the one that Christ referred to
When he said, “Blessed are the meek”

It’s hard to imagine life without you
You were always there for me
And if there really is a Heaven
I have no doubt that’s where you’ll be

Rest in peace. Your memory lives on.

Grandma & me

I read this poem at Grandma's memorial service in the Calvinist Meeting Hall of my youth. It went over like a wet fart on a pew. From the pulpit I could see all those true believers murmuring to each other, "What did he mean: 'IF?'" Talk about choking on a gnat! I'm so glad I'll never have to go back there again! It was a bad flashback I won't repete, no matter who kicks off next. I won't be attending. Write that in stone.

Many of the 65th street lambs remembered me, and were polite enough. They had little to say to me, except, "That was a nice poem, Richard." I knew they all hated it. Not that I really cared. I didn't want to read it to them anyway, but if I didn't read it some old fart was more than happy to read it aloud for me. I gave him the elegy that Grandma wrote in 1971. It was better received than mine. It was very uncomfortable for me.

A few familiar faces shunned me all-together. And made a point of demonstrating that they were doing this. In case I hadn't noticed. I was actually fine with that. Grateful even. They all knew about me from the wagging tongues of some of my less than loving family members. Even though I weighed my every word, seeking to avoid offence, my efforts were in vain. They were offended anyway. They all knew that I was an apostate. An infidel. They all knew why "IF" was as far as I can go without smirking, or rolling my eyes.

One of Grandpa's preacher pals actually tried to get me to pray with him for my grandmother's soul. As if she needed any praying over! I looked him straight in the eye and lied to him, saying: "I did, Mr. Adams. Earlier. Before I got here." He was shaking his head and trying to retort, but I pressed on. "Besides, didn't Jesus tell us to do our praying in the closet, and not publicly for peer approval? I prayed in my closet, before coming here. I've got to go. Got to get ready for work. Thanks for your concern." I was on bereavement leave at the time, but I needed to get away from him without causing a scene, and embarrassing my mom and sister's family. He just stared at me with a befuddled grin while I beat a hasty retreat.

Now that it's all over, I'm glad I was able to show my respect for my grandmother without offending anybody too much. At least they didn't pull an intervention on me this time. That's been tried before. I'll have to save that story for another time. I do run on.


Here's the elegy Grandma wrote for her mother-in-law, Great Grandma Lizzy Abagail Spooner.

GRANDMA'S GONE -- by Ruth E. Towle
(Sept. 7th 1972)

Is this a dream that I dreamed?
This rushing here and there
With many different things to do
attending Grandma's care

The many trips with plants and flowers
And letters, cards, and things
Have made the days of summer fly
on swift and silent wings

And now our Grandma's gone away
Up to her home above
To rest and praise her Saviour dear
for His eternal love

And I am glad that she's at rest
With loved ones gone before
And know that it will not be long
till we too reach that shore

But what an emptiness is left
That nothing can replace
Since we'll not hear her voice again
on earth, or see her face

But what is life? A testing place
And what of joy or sorrow?
We'll fill each moment as it comes
And trust Him for tomorrow



Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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ProfessorPEARL said...

It is a sad comfort we, who've experience this type of shunning, have when reading or watching these all too common tales of religiously sanctioned treatment.

I was quoted the scripture where Jesus states that he did not come for peace, but to separate families, by my mother. Prophesy fulfilled?

Well, where a door is closed a window opens, brother.