Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Time Travel

Uncle Carl came to visit while Grace was here. I haven't seen him for nearly 30 years but would have known him anywhere. Like, in line for a snow cone at a national park. On the moon.

Spending the afternoon with Carl and Mom's other brother, Charles, and Grace was like stepping into custom-made clothing. Like pulling on running gloves on a cold Minnesota morning. Like. . . . Heck, come to think of it, reconnecting with family is like nothing else on earth. There's something so fundamental, so elemental, so real, something so important and true about it that everything else disappears. All that's left is blood and bone, history and future.

Somehow, talk turned to cars. Carl mentioned a Plymouth that Grace and her family once owned.

'58 Plymouth Fury. Garold Banks had a 57 and they come back home with that 58. That one they had, they only made 13 of them cars. Be worth a fortune today. Boy, that was a pretty car. Blue and white. Big old long car. Pretty.

Nearly 50 years have come and gone since Grace and Bud parked that Fury in front of Grandma's house, but Carl's eyes glaze and he sees it as clearly as he did that first day. One marriage, two daughters, no telling how many cars of his own, 10,000 beers, hundreds of thousands of miles as an over-the-road trucker. All of it falls away, and the old man hunched in a wicker chair becomes an 18-year-old boy lusting after a car.

The conversation moves on.

I remember that '49 Ford pickup Chuck bought. Had it over in front of the garage Grandpa and Milford Worley had. Let me drive it and I got it stuck in the snow in front of the garage.

Dad says,

That’s the one we went to California in, the first time. We were driving up a mountain and got into a cloud. I woke Nora up and said, "Honey, we’re driving in a cloud." She opened her eyes and said, "Oh, we’ve had our heads in the clouds for a long time."

Time doesn't exist as they tell stories of cars and clouds and nickels from a dead girl's eyes. Support hose, trifocals, blood sugar monitors and surgery scars disappear. In their places, clear eyes and new dreams.

I tried to take notes as they talked, but ended up lost in the mists of memories with them. And what a pleasure it was.


Doubting Thomas said...

Beautiful story, beautifully told. I've always been envious of your connection to family. It's one of your many talents, I think.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Nickels from a dead girl's eyes? WTF????

Love this: "All that's left is blood and bone, history and future."

We had a Plymouth Fury - totally remember that car!

Deb said...

You clearly come from a long line of great story tellers. It's nice to see in part where your gifts come from.