I’m writing this post early on a Sunday morning. That time frame is usually defined between the hours of 4:30 and 6 a.m. for me. I have always loved this part of the day. When my children were small, it meant I had a little time to call my own. When I ran a business, it was the best part of the work day. Today, I still treasure this time for planning my week, catching up on Facebook and delving through the hundreds of e mail I haven’t answered.
I learned this affection for the early hours from my Grandpa. He was an early riser, and I would often wake to the smell of coffee brewing on the stovetop in a Pyrex percolator. While my Grandma slept on, I would join my Grandpa in the kitchen as he cracked a couple of eggs into a cast iron skillet coated with “drippings”. We usually poured the grease off bacon into a container to use for cooking. To bake biscuits, we dredged the bottoms of biscuits to keep them from sticking and the tops to make them brown nicely. It must have been a popular practice in the 1950s, for we had a metal canister that sat on the stove, embossed with the word, “GREASE!"
I’m now more than a half-century away from those days, but the love for my grandfather and the habits I learned are still with me. In fact, I am beginning to suspect the older you get, the more poignant those memories become.
As a child from a divorced family, I almost always had a suitcase ready. It was a big, black, vinyl hatbox and I bought my initials (Those were actually self adhesive letters used to place your name and address on a mailbox, but I called them my monogram, with special emphasis on the "my.")
Sometimes I lived with my mother, briefly, I lived with my dad, but mostly I lived with my grandparents. It was always a possibility that my mother would suddenly find herself in better circumstances and ask that I come live with her, but more often, it was my hot-tempered grandmother who would call my mom and exhort, “Come get this girl! I can’t take her another minute!”
My Grandpa was the one constant, consistent, calming influence in my life. I always knew he loved me, no matter how crazy the rest of my life seemed. Attending Catholic school was an enormous help, too. The sisters were strict, discipline could be painful, and there were so many rules to follow, it was hard to remember them all. There were times when the sister’s judgments were questionable, but believe me, no one dared say so!
I don’t know that I have a particular point to share with you this morning, unless it is this:
Any child, no matter how poor, regardless of their family circumstance, aside from their education, apart from role models…any child can be successful. My measure of success may not match yours, and it is certainly different than the ideas I had as a youth, but I am successful. I am also grateful for all that I have and believe that our future is bright as long as we have a desire to help others. I hope you have some time of your own each week and that you spend it joyfully.