He Doesn’t Remember the Story

The family (not all, but some) cramped in the living room I’ve spent most of my Thanksgivings in over the years. The tiny room in the house my grandpa grew up in to a point. The house where his baby son died. Where his first wife died. Where his brother died. But where so many others lived.
It’s not in the best part of town any more, but it’s his and grandma’s, and they love it, and for this Thanksgiving, they were able to be home instead of in the nursing home where they’ve moved to because Grandpa’s minds slipping and Grandma can’t really get around on her own, but when she tried, when Grandpa went to the nursing home first and Grandma was in the house with my uncle, alone, it broke her heart.
So they’re in a nursing home together, but Saturday, they were out, and they were so excited and they looked so great, I almost cried because I was afraid they wouldn’t. Afraid all the family drama would have taken its toll. But it hasn’t. They’re still Grandma and Grandpa and they were there and they were happy and instead of letting the drama take center stage I asked Grandpa to tell me the story he loves to tell best. The story about him and Grandma and how they met.
But he couldn’t remember.
I wish I’d have immediately taken his hand and told him the story instead.
I can because he and Grandma have told it so many times.
How he and Gladys his first wife had one boy, then triplets, then one baby died and Gladys died an the OKC paper did the story about the young minister raising three boys on his own. How Grandma cut the story out of the paper and prayed for him and his boys and that God would send someone to take care of them.
Grandma loved to read. She was smart and she could’ve done anything she set her mind to. She sang in a trio that traveled the revival circuit.
And at one of those revivals, Grandpa saw her and knew immediately she was the one. He’d seen Grandma in a dream.
But he didn’t tell her because he didn’t want her to think he was crazy.
Instead he sent a letter to the woman Grandma was staying with asking for her advice and telling her under no circumstances to tell Grandma what he was asking about.
The woman didn’t talk to Grandma at all. Instead, she gave Grandma the letter.
A few months later Grandma and Grandpa were married. Grandma was 18 and the mother of three boys. God had certainly answered her prayer from all those years before. And now they have 8 children. My mother’s their only daughter.
Their story is amazing. The rest of it is just as miraculous, but it’s for another time.
Grandpa can’t remember the story, at least not right away. But he’s happy. And even though the family drama surrounds him and Grandma, I think they’re at peace, as it should be at Thanksgiving.

3 responses to “He Doesn’t Remember the Story

  1. I remember the story. Gladys died from complications from having triplets. Baby Darold died from Whooping cough at the age of 1 month in the back bedroom of Papa’s house. Grandpa used to tell me about how he sat in the front of the house listening to him cough and how he knew Darold was going to die.

  2. :::sob::: I’m sitting here crying at my computer! What a wonderful story, and how great you got to spend Thanksgiving with them!

  3. Pingback: Odell Newton Vanderburg, you were an amazing Grandpa. I Love You! « A Writer's Life

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