Yes, They've Met

By Jolene McIlwain

February 20, 2017

Yes, They've Met

There’s a 1/16 scale Texaco truck parked on our mantle, its frame crooked and stack bent from ways it’s been stored. I dust it. Then, I dust my son’s toolbox, an eighth-grade shop project etched with the name he’s inherited from good stock.

My husband’s grandfather drove a Texaco truck so he wouldn’t be land-poor just farming his acres, part of which my son will someday own.

Cancer took Pap years before my son’s birth.

Their shoulders are the same. Their chins, their kindness, their gait and stature, the same. The way my son looks when laughter is ready to come—his eyebrows and shoulders raising—convinces me of their certain meeting in that space before birth, after death, where energy seeks its container.

There, I’m sure, they had long talks that steadied my son for this world. When Pap laughed, my son copied his movements. Pap explained patience, wisdom, how to love the land he’d nurtured. He told my son how to recognize me, how to make me smile.

When we take our long walks through the fields, Pap’s walking there, too. When I feel, again, Pap’s hand at my elbow or see him standing at the edge of the tree line looking our way, my son pauses, picks up a leaf, or floats his hand over hayseed.

When I smile, my son says, “What?”

But, I can’t explain. It’s simply something I know.

His eyebrows and shoulders raise, and we, all three, laugh together.

 

Comments (31) - Post a Comment
This just took my breath away. Thank you.
Sue Repko at 8:32am EST - February 20, 2017
A beautiful piece.

[You might want "rising" and "rise."]
Jan Priddy at 8:45am EST - February 20, 2017
A beautifully written touching story that hit home for me.
paul beckman at 8:52am EST - February 20, 2017
What a loving tribute. I loved the description of the truck -- frame crooked and stack bent. I've known a few of those vehicles (and men).
Nan Wigington at 9:40am EST - February 20, 2017
You brought back my own family pride and treasured memories with a tear trickling down my cheek and a tug at my heart
Wendy Totos at 9:52am EST - February 20, 2017
Such a lovely piece. You held my heart in your hands throughout.
Jan Elman Stout at 10:03am EST - February 20, 2017
This is so lovingly written and emotive, Jolene. It's beautiful. Thank you for evoking my own grandfather and son.
April Bradley at 10:13am EST - February 20, 2017
Oh, Jolene-this is beautiful. So much heart.
Lisa Ferranti at 10:21am EST - February 20, 2017
Oh I do believe this, too: "in that space before birth, after death, where energy seeks its container" and that's what we are. Lovely work, tender tribute. Thank you, Jolene
Anne Weisgerber at 10:27am EST - February 20, 2017
Such a warm, touching piece, Jolene! I love "The way my son looks when laughter is ready to come", "He told my son how to recognize me, how to make me smile", and well, all the rest....
Ingrid Jendrzejewski at 10:58am EST - February 20, 2017
Jolene, gorgeous imagery and characterization in a tiny gem.
Mary Ellen Gambutti at 11:20am EST - February 20, 2017
Absolutely exquisite. "... where energy seeks its container." Perfection.
Jayne Martin at 12:21pm EST - February 20, 2017
You have expressed a feeling, a knowing, I've had when I see my father in my daughter, and the two could only have met "where energy seeks its container." One of the best lines I've read.
Peggy Lamb at 1:03pm EST - February 20, 2017
What a touching bit of family history! It's always a pleasure to read your work!
Carole Bencich at 2:57pm EST - February 20, 2017
Beautiful.
Jacqueling Doyle at 3:13pm EST - February 20, 2017
Beautifully written. Hope to see you this summer.
Jean-Marie Saporito at 3:16pm EST - February 20, 2017
Beautifully written. Hope to see you this summer.
Jean-Marie Saporito at 3:16pm EST - February 20, 2017
Beautifully written. Hope to see you this summer.
Jean-Marie Saporito at 3:16pm EST - February 20, 2017
Beautifully written. Hope to see you this summer.
Jean-Marie Saporito at 3:16pm EST - February 20, 2017
Beautiful. Very rich language.
Karin Gall at 3:19pm EST - February 20, 2017
Beautiful. Very rich language.
Karin Gall at 3:19pm EST - February 20, 2017
Beautiful. Very rich language.
Karin Gall at 3:19pm EST - February 20, 2017
Finally grandkids gone and I'm catching up. When I sat down to read this, already missing those two little ones, I found it particularly poignant. This is a really strong and touching story, Jolene. Lovely.
Gay Degani at 3:46pm EST - February 20, 2017
A jewel! "The way my son looks when laughter is ready to come—his eyebrows and shoulders raising—convinces me of their certain meeting in that space before birth, after death, where energy seeks its container."
annie at 4:07pm EST - February 20, 2017
What a lovely paean to the cycle of death and birth--and the land that sustains everyone!
ravibala Shenoy at 4:10pm EST - February 20, 2017
My favorite so far Jolene. Denny choked back tears while I read your beautiful writing. Pap would be so proud!
Joy McIlwain at 9:29pm EST - February 20, 2017
What a beautiful story Jolene
Jackie schuey at 10:54pm EST - February 20, 2017
Absolutely beautiful piece, Jolene!!
Lauri Gravina at 3:22pm EST - February 21, 2017
Absolutely beautiful piece, Jolene!!
Lauri Gravina at 3:22pm EST - February 21, 2017
Jolene, this is so lovely and also comforting, reminding me that we never really lose someone we love. Thank you for your writing.
Margaret Whitford at 12:30pm EST - February 22, 2017
Outstanding writing. Best thing I did with my day was reading this.
Alex at 4:48pm EDT - March 18, 2017


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