Beginnings

I think I did very well in the interview.  I hate being nervous…. I used to be able to contain it better.  Since I have been so out of the loop, I have to work on keeping it at a minimum.  That is what rejection does to you.  It chips away the lovely veneer so carefully applied over the years.  In my mind, instead of a polished put-together woman I see all the peeling paint and duct tape fixes.  Don’t even mention the hair.  I shellacked it into submission.   I chose to wear it up and away from my face.  It wasn’t cooperating very well but I passed that point of no return and had to go with it.

I was on my best behavior, did not scratch nor mention the rat bite, kept fidgeting to a minimum and tried to provide thoughtful and well-spoken answers.  It appeared that we had good rapport.  I left with a smile and high hopes.

I remember riding horses as a kid.  We had one horse that was what you could call…. spirited.  His name was Dino.  He was a magnificent horse with energy to burn and needed a steady hand at the rein.  He could run…he loved to run.  Sometimes, he would burst out into a full on run with no warning, leaving the rider to hold on for dear life while trying to restrain him.  Being on a horse that’s tearing its way through the desert and jumping over bushes is a rush of exhilaration mixed with a pinch of terrifying.  Sometimes, the thrill was interrupted by the jolt of a sandy, unplanned meeting with terra firma.

My triumphant feeling of getting through the job interview with hope intact was quickly diminished with a phone call.  You know when you get those phone calls and you just know that it is unwelcome news?  It took a ring tone and a few words to yank me off the horse and hit the ground with a thud.

My Grandfather, Lawrence Isaac Sr.,  passed away yesterday afternoon.  Upon hearing, I was filled with a combination of sadness and relief.  He lived a very long life.  I could be mistaken but I think him to be around 99.  His mind was drifting through haze of dementia in the last few years.  His body was becoming frail.

My fondest memories of Grandpa are from my childhood.  He always greeted us with a smile.  He used to call us sah-nee (phonetic spelling), the meaning of which, I don’t remember.  I do, however, remember his voice.  He spoke English very well and when speaking Navajo, was hypnotizing.  He liked to tease us, as well.  I remember the word squaw being bandied about which would get us giggling and making pronouncements on the “yuckiness” of boys.

One memory, in particular, stands out.  I was still quite young, maybe 6.  They had just finished constructing a new hogan for Grandma.  They hadn’t moved anything in it yet so it was just the logs and the packed dirt floor.  The grandkids were all going to have a sleepover in it.  We excitedly dragged our sleeping bags in and arranged them.  We asked Grandpa to come over and tell us some stories before we went to sleep.  There we were laying on our sleeping bags as darkness fell.  The intoxicating smell of fresh juniper, sage and earth filling the hogan.  Grandpa sitting in front of us in the glow of a lantern….shadows dancing along the logs…crickets chirping outside.  We were mesmerized as he told us tales of skinwalkers and old legends.  We were also completely petrified in our zipped-to-the-top sleeping bags wondering what was lurking beyond the doorway.  Knowing Grandpa, I’m sure he had a chuckle as he was leaving us for the night.  At some point, I was lulled to sleep by the comforting sound of his voice before he even finished his tales.

I became motivated not too long ago to organize a family reunion this summer.  Our family doesn’t really do those type of things.  However, as we are all scattering to the wind, I feel the importance of recognizing where we came from and getting to know strangers who are family.  I wanted to honor the memory of Frances and now, Lawrence Sr.  They worked hard and persevered through the triumphs and tragedies of lives long-lived.  As with most families, perfection is absent.  My hope is that we can take the positives and build on them and learn from our failures.  In other words, after falling off the horse, we dust ourselves off and get back in the saddle a little bruised but wiser.

After all, it started with a driven young man named Lawrence who married a strong, beautiful woman named Frances.  They started out with hopes and dreams never imagining how far the journey would take them and what blessings they would be given.

Grandma, Grandpa, I hope we make you proud.  I love you and miss you.

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