Wednesday, June 2, 2010

In the Garden


I don't know where this post came from, but it wants to be written, so here it is.  Sometimes thoughts and images blindside me.  So it was this morning...

On a late summer day in 1968, as they were delivering the bounty of canteloupe from their garden to friends and relatives, my maternal grandparents were in a car accident.  It was an unmarked intersection and my grandpa lost his life when they were hit at the rear side of their Ford Econoline pick-up truck.  The truck careened into a tree and it was then and there that my grandpa met his Lord.  He was ready.

But I wasn't.

He was just 55 years old.  Only a year younger than my own husband.  My grandma was 53, the age I'll be in September.  She wasn't ready to be without him.  Neither were any of us. It was on the eve of my 11th birthday.  I didn't find out that he was killed instantly until the next morning when my dad had the unenviable job of telling me.  On my birthday.

We have a small family.  I'm an only child and my mom only has one sister, so we are all very close.  My grandparents lived just a mile or so away, as the crow flies.  They babysat me every day while my parents both worked until I was about 3½ years old.  Spending that much time on the farm with them created close bonds, beyond the usual grandparent/grandchild relationship.

For a long time after that, I looked at my life in terms of "BGD" and "AGD" - Before Grandpa Died and After Grandpa Died.  In the summer of 1969, Neil Armstrong, a fellow Buckeye, set foot on the moon.  Grandpa didn't get to see that.  There's a lot he didn't get to see, but he lived a good and full life.  He was a loving and honest man, making his living off the land and trying to do good wherever life took him.

I can't hear his voice anymore, and don't remember what it sounds like, but thoughts of him come to me at random times and I can still shed a tear when I think of him and how I wish he were still here.  I know we would have the best conversations.

We do talk, in a way....

His favorite hymn was "In the Garden."

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.


He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling.


And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

Yes, perhaps the inspiration for my love of gardening is in some small way a gift from my grandpa.  Maybe not.  But I now know why it was his favorite hymn.  I'm sure he had many a conversation with God while riding the tractor up and down the length of his fields.

God speaks to me when I'm in my garden, too.


13 comments:

Teresa O said...

Hi Kylee...what a touching post. I'm so sorry you lost a grandparent at such a tender age. He lives on the memories of those who loved him. Your story made me think of my own grandfather. *sigh*

Have a wonderful evening!

Earth Girl said...

Beautiful tribute to a special person.

Carolyn Gail said...

So sad that you lost your Grandpa so early but happy that you had a special relationship with him. Now that I'm a full-time grandma I can really relate to the role he had in your life.

I can still hear that old country favorite In the Garden in my head and heart. It was one we sang almost every Sunday and its so inspirational.

Msrobin said...

Lovely post Kylee, and very touching. I love that hymn!

Gail said...

What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man.

Garden Lily said...

How beautiful - it made me cry - in a good way. I love that hymn too. Thanks for sharing.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Wow, Kylee, what a nice post. I'm sorry you lost your grandfather so young! And isn't age weird--my dad was 59 when he died and that doesn't seem old now. A friend's husband just died at 63. Yeah, those used to be grandparent's ages, and then parent's ages, and now getting closer and closer to being contemporaries' ages. You are lucky you knew your grandparents. I met all four of mine exactly twice in my life.

Peg said...

What a wonderful tribute to your Grandpa, Kylee. ♡
Brings tears to the eye & thoughts of my own special Gramps who died at 63.

Monica has a good point about relative ages. I can empathize as I just turned 64 last month.

min hus said...

Kylie,

Thanks for sharing something so personal. Your post brought tears to my eyes.

I too lost my grandpa unexpectedly when I was 11 and he was 55, so I know a bit of what you might have experienced. We were close and I still miss him. I often wonder what he'd think of how I turned out, or wished I could get his advice about something. Our loved ones may be gone, but they are never forgotten.

Kay said...

Oh my!! I think he did instill in all of us to plant something in the soil and watch it grow. Thanks for writing this and it sure brought a large lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. Love, Aunt Kay

Kylee from Our Little Acre said...

Teresa ~ Though I'm sure you miss him, thoughts of him are good, aren't they? Even though I was thinking of my grandpa yesterday and wishing he were here, I thought to myself...how wonderful that he is still in our hearts and comes to mind even 42 years later.

I hope your gardens are surviving our odd spring!

Earth Girl ~ Thanks, Martha.

Carolyn Gail ~ Yes, we sing it often in church and it's rather difficult for me to sing it well all the way to the end. Something always gets stuck in my throat...

Robin ~ I would love it, too, even if it didn't have special meaning for our family.

Gail ~ Thanks, Gail.

Garden Lily ~ I didn't mean to make you cry, but sometimes crying is good for you, isn't it? :-)

Monica ~ Oh wow...I know I'm fortunate. My grandma, who was nearly killed in that accident is still with us at 95, and in good health. My great-grandma (this grandfather's mother) lived to be 95, so I knew her well, too. On my dad's side, I never knew my grandfather and my grandma died of cancer when I was eight years old, so I have few memories of her. Grandparents are such special people in our lives when we get to spend time with them.

Peg ~ I'm glad if my post brought some good memories to mind. Yes, age is a weird thing, isn't it? Most of us don't feel anything close to what age our birth certificates say we are.

min hus ~ Wow... you really can relate to me. I wonder the exact same things you do. *hugs*

Aunt Kay ~ I knew this would be an emotional post for you, who lost him when you were just 29. Younger than Kara... Wow. Love you!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What a lovely tribute to your Grandpa Kylee. I am sure he is smiling at you right now knowing he was loved as much as he loved.

Diana said...

What a touching post, Kylee. Thank you for sharing it with us. My daughter (7) lost her grandfather the farmer just over a month ago. And while he was 79, it is still so sad to be here on the farm without him this weekend. He loved to grow things, too. How blessed we are to have such wonderful memories.

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