October 11, 2011

The Smile of a Structural Engineer

I followed him through the yard and around the house.  Teetering as he stepped, his eyes scanned every nook and cranny. His shirt tucked neatly into his western belt-buckled jeans and a whiff of after-shave trailed him.  He perused my rooftop, and paused.  He explained the damage in a loud voice as if talking over a noise.

I stared at him mesmerized.  Not because of what he was saying, although it was dire enough I listened, but because of his laugh and good-natured teasing sprinkled among all he said.  His facial features, the twinkle in his eyes, and the way his smile curled to one side reminded me of my sweet Papaw.  I couldn't help feeling a connection to this structural engineer.

After he delivered bad news about our house, I asked him what he would suggest we do.  He gave me his winning smile and wise advice.  It felt like grandfather-granddaughter stuff; I struggled not to tear up.  He gave a few last words and walked to the door calling good-bye to my kids. I walked him out and thanked him for his time, secretly trying to prolong our conversation.

I wanted to hug him.  It was with great restraint that I didn't.  He waved as he walked to his truck and I reluctantly went back inside.

My eldest daughter was watching me.

Guiltily, I explained, "He reminded me of--"

"I know," she said, still staring.

"I almost hugged him," I confessed.

She smiled.  "Yeah, I know; I could see it on your face."  She pulled me to her and hugged me tight.

Papaw's Girl
Papaw's handwriting is hidden in the background.When he gardened, he always wore a straw hat.

He was known for his big ears and overalls.  I loved them. So I added ears and braids in memory of my favorite farmer.

I'm joining Storytelling Tuesday where Sadee explores how story impacts artists of all kinds (writers, painters, quilters, musicians, etc). For more stories (or to add your own) click on the button below.

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  1. Such a sweet story and beautiful piece of art. Thank you for sharing about your wonderul Papaw. Makes me think of my Grampa. *Hugs*

  2. I loved this. I miss my grandfather, too. It's been two years now since he's been gone.

  3. *sigh* Beautiful--your words AND your art. :-)

  4. I had a gardener Grandpa too! He used to carry around a salt shaker in his front shirt pocket so he season his tomatoes before he ate them like apples, straight from the vine :). This is such a bittersweet story--the way see something of loved ones we've lost in someone else and long for a connection...Such a beautiful story! And I love the way to made the collage background--with your Papaw's handwriting included!

  5. Now you've got me all teary eyed. What a sweet tribute to someone who was very special to you. I didn't know my grandpas as they lived far away in other lands - but my kids have been lucky enough to know both of their grandpas which I'm very thankful for.

  6. I love this story. My dad just passed away and I catch my breath every time I someone passes by who reminds me of him.

  7. This was great. I can feel your emotions. Some people have a way of reminding us of someone else we know.
    I'm catching up on your blog this morning. Love the "Coffee Break" painting. Is it for sale?
    Go. Create. Inspire! As you always do.


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