Thursday, October 30, 2008

Better with Age

My grandfather used to tell me that a good woman, like good wine, only gets better with age. I remember listening to this on more than one occasion, thinking in my 10-year old brain, "what is he talking about?" Some 16-years later, I've grown into the man I am today, and can agree with my grandfather on not only that wise adage, but several others he told throughout the years.

My mother's parents were humble people; farmers, with hearts larger than any field they ever plowed. My grandmother made the best breads, jams, and pies - looking back, even cereal tasted better if grandma had poured it. There was nothing my grandma couldn't do. My grandfather taught us the value of a dollar, and the joy and pride that came from a job well done. They were two of the most influential, and now that I'm older, inspirational people I'll ever meet. They valued family over money, truth over prejudice, and nothing made them smile wider than the giggle of a grandchild.

2-week old Artie with Grandma and Mom. (I must have been a handful! Look at my mother's less than enthusiastic face!)

When my grandmother passed away, each of her 5 children pulled things from closets and corners, taking pieces of her with them. Some took quilts and cookbooks, others clothes and diaries, some took money, but my mother's sister took the one thing that I wanted most of all:

I remember being so upset. I had remembered writing my name with my finger nail in the wood, as all my cousins had, rocking back and forth with and without my grandmother. It was my favorite place to curl up when I stayed with her as a child, and the place I sat as a young man on her old back porch while she told me tales from the past.

Yes, I felt somehow tied to that old rocking chair, and I was heartbroken when my Aunt snatched it up without even asking me. A year went by, and at my brother's high school graduation, my Aunt brought me a gift. "Why me?" I thought - after all it was my brothers graduation. But I'm not one to turn down a gift, so I walked with her to the back of my uncles truck to find the chair, refinished as you see if above. She knew how much I loved that chair, and must have recalled my longing.

Artie with Aunt Gwen.

I've pulled that chair in several directions since, each time carrying a bit of the memories of those hot Louisiana summers on the back porch, sipping iced tea with my grandmother, her fresh out of the beauty shop curls almost stone-like as the soft summer brease ruffeled the needles of the pine trees and blew ever so gently upon our warm faces.

And I will pass it along to my niece or nephew when I go. Broken bits and pieces, time worn, aged with grace and beauty ... the way it was intended.


  1. Look how happy you are with Aunt Gwen! You knew then she would take care of your memories and give the chair to you. Enjoy it!! Sally

  2. How special that chair must be, Artie. Great story.

  3. Oh look how cute you were!!! haha! And that big ol' smile! I think it's great your aunt did that for you, how special to have that reminder of Garma's love~

  4. Haha! Why, he turned out to be a very handsome man! :)

  5. Look at you - such a cutie pie! Gramma's are the best and they always will be. I have the fondest memories of mine. Glad you got your chair - how sweet of your Aunt to think of you that way! ~ Robyn

  6. Artie,

    You were the cutest little baby!!!! :)


  7. You were positively adorable! I think the look on your mom's face has something to do with sleep deprivation. I think you look a lot like your mom.
    I have a silly frog doorstop from my grandmother that means the world to me.

  8. What a special post this was. How wonderful that your aunt did that for you, and weren't you just a cute little guy? I'm so glad you have the rocker. laurie

  9. So glad you have it now. This is a great post!

  10. What a beautiful baby...and what a beautifully written and heart warming story about your dear grandmother. I think she's in heaven with a huge smile on her face this evening. Thanks for sharing your precious memories with us! Have a great night...and thanks for the birthday love!

  11. What a beautiful story, Artie, and man, you were a cute baby!!!!!

    Justine :o )

  12. Artie what a beautiful story... I love those kind it makes me feel so warm with family values... And yes you were right you were a beautiful baby... Have a Simply Spooktacular Day!!!

    Happy Halloween

  13. Beautiful tribute to your grandparents. Your chair story is very similar to my little red desk story. I cherish that little desk and understand exactly how you feel about the rocking chair.

    And weren't you a doll baby. Sweet photos!

    Wonderful post!

  14. Oh Artie, I just loved this! You write so well - I could actually smell the pine trees and feel the breeze you described while sipping tea with your Gramma.

    And weren't you a cutie patootie?! Awww!

    I'm glad you have your rocking chair and all those nice memories.

    Hugs, Isa

  15. What a little doll you were and still are. You look like your mom. Loved the story too. vicky

  16. Okay, Now I remember what I came here for earlier........

    I wanted to comment about knowing just how you felt about that chair. I had those same feelings about a decanter and matching stemware that was given to my parents as a wedding gift. The pieces were a very deep, ruby, red, with a clear glass stopper and stems to the glasses. The stopper and stems had very fine, diamond shapes carved in them. I can see them, in my mind, as I type this. My mother stored them on the very top shelf of the china hutch, in our kitchen. I had always hoped that they would be mine one day. However, my mother died when I was twelve and I didn't know what happened to them.

    One day when I went to visit my niece, in Georgia, there they were, on a shelf in her kitchen. My older sister had them and gave them to her daughter. My heart sunk, for after seeing them, I knew they would never belong to me. :(

    I've searched, many times, for something like them, but never found anything that even came close.

    Isn't it funny how many of us, that we meet here in blogland, have similar stories about things that have happened to us in the past, or are so much alike in or interests here and now...

    Some words to a song are going thru my head as I write this......WE ARE FAMILY.... ;)



    PS..Is the Pisces showing in me?

  17. Your aunt is a very special lady. Beautiful story.

  18. I'm, "borrowing" your cute baby picture for a post I'm about to do!
    hugs, b.

  19. What a sweet story - that picture of your grandmother in curlers is priceless!!! too cute!!!!

    you sure were a darling baby!!!


  20. Artie, what a great post. I love seeing women in don't see that much anymore. Made me smile because I remember my Mom and Sister on Saturdays with their hair rolled up under kerchiefs doing grocery shopping.

    What a sweet aunt you have, and how nice of you to plan to leave it to the family in the far distant future. I really like your blog. Thanks for the great interview with Joni. She's a real gem.

  21. Oh this post made me all misty! It reminded me of how all I wanted were my great aunt's old photographs of ancient relatives. When I called to inquire I was cut off and told, "Her house has been cleaned out and that crap went in the bin."
    Still crushed after 15 years! Sigh.
    I'm glad you had a happy ending.