Cushman

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the water flickers around me and I think of you

you’ve been gone for years and I still feel

my toes in the water at the lake

 

I’m reminded by

the place you rest now

You, G’ma, and an uncle I don’t remember

the mountains a lush green

tips of trees creating texture where you are

 

it holds your embrace, grace, and all of my memories

surrounded by water

 

Now,

in a new place and the unflattering color of the canyon

reflects on the water

a slow moving ripple carries itself to the banks all around me

 

silver fish jump and I can still see you

hear you whisper that you loved me in my ear

the white sail boat wrecked

turned sandbox for

your grandchild and great grandchild

Ode to Cushman

Alan Jackson, When God Paints

Many sleeps in the A-frame of our family cabin I dreamt …the comfort of the hustle and bustle below. Hearing Grandpa and Grandpa chatter, Grandpa sitting like a silhouette in front of the wall of windows rocking in a chair, coffee in hand. Every morning I would make my way down that steep ladder like stairs. The wooden beams I counted when I couldn’t sleep. The slamming of the screen door, the totem on the deck, the enveloping smells of comfort food, the view from that wall of windows to the lake, the crackling from the fire place, and Louis L’Amour paperbacks lined a shelf at the end of the room.

This place was like no other, built by hand by the Carroll James Martin family, a labor of love. A piece of heritage that some day would be steadfast long after the love it was built upon….the marriage that made it through the hammering, nails, windows, injury, cement, and wooden beams. The rich family history seeped from the walls when you entered.

Frequent trips to this magical family cabin; love, laughter, tears, joy, and the feeling that we were this tight knit interwoven family that nothing could break us.  This place I always felt love in…felt everyone within those walls loved me and I them.  Yes, I got in trouble within those walls, probably broke a glass or two, the time I spilt milk across the dinner table….despite my youth and at 39 now, the memory of our cabin burns like fire in the corners of my mind.

For me, Grandpa was strong, sometimes short tempered but so kind. He would melt every time he embraced any one of his grandchildren.  “Hey girl, how’d you sleep?” He rubbed his cheek against mine, coffee on his breath and squeezed like he’d never let go.

Grandma in the kitchen buzzing like a bee, her light blue night dress and slippers, I would always go to her next. Hugging her was like being wrapped in a warm soft cloud.  Sunny days were always special lake days.  And oh, that long wooden dock.  I miss the way it felt under my feet, slivers and all. Long days drew large appetites with a table fit for kings, mini bagels, orange juice, toast–there was so much food everywhere…filling our bellies full with tasty treats and a lot of love. Grandma’s smile will always be easy to remember.

Today, nearing publication of my first book. Her letters and encouragement for me to write and never stop writing make the tears flow. She wrote, “Tom had that gift too. You have so much to share with the world. Keep writing,” those words rest on a card in a box with most of the cards she wrote to me, in my night stand. An old grey shoe box that holds grandpa’s letters too…written a long their travels, handwriting hard to read, but stories and stories of different places they visited in their airstream.

This cabin, still feels like our cabin…I have visited too few times as I have gotten older and I can feel myself still there. Laying on the couch sun shining though the windows  carrying me to a warm cat nap. This place is a home because of the people who are in it, I need to go back, let my kids feel what I felt there.  Show my husband it’s beauty and bring them to this magical place filled with family, happiness, and hertiage-aunts, uncles and cousins that have carried on and kept our cabin alive. Rich in love and memories, a tall A-frame steadfast love still bleeding family deep in the wooden beams.

 

 

 

 

To My Grandfather…

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I hold you in my hand

your silent ashes dust my palm

fist clenched, I couldn’t release you,

colorful petals to guide you

beneath me, Lake Cushman

above me, a cloudless blue shy

around me, an icy wind without you

everyone who loved you…

A memory of your still body

I stared at you for countless hours

but now, your body does not exist

my angry hand loosens around you

I wanted one last goodbye, your whiskers scratching my face

but I missed it…

remembering the last words we shared

Today, I face life outside you

wondering what our words would’ve been in our last moments

making myself promises because of you

striving for goals to prove myself…”write,” you said.

I can’t guarantee mistakes won’t be made

but I will live on with your name honorably

Not ready, I let you fall between my fingers…

I put you to rest surrounded by family

and the wind carries you to the surface of the water