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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Papa's Treasures




I woke up at dawn, lifted the shade and the view of the beach was simply captivating.  I sensed it would be a gorgeous summer day.  I went for a walk on the beach.  The sound of the ocean reminded me of a classic symphony.  The breeze caressing my face was comforting, reminding me of when my Grandma used to brush her fingers over my forehead, telling me how much she loved me.  The beautiful sunrise and the charming memories converged into a lovely time that morning. 


Delightful thoughts swirled in my mind while walking on the white-sanded beach of Destin, Florida.   My eyes were fixed on the tracks and prints in the sand. They reminded me of ancient hieroglyphics.  I wondered if I could decipher any secret message. 

Imagination has wings!  I mused.
Suddenly, I observed odd prints on the sand.  As I followed the prints, I found out I was not alone, and I wasn’t the only one looking down on the sand. Pigeons were walking and pecking crumbs, pleased with their findings. 


A playful thought flickered in my mind. What if I found something valuable in the sand?
Silly me!  I shook my head, and grinned. Yet the thought brought memories of my grandfather Ulises, or Papa, as I call him.  I recalled my walks with Papa when I was a little girl.  Back then, I noticed he usually walked with his gaze fixed on the ground.
“Papa, why do you always look to the ground when we are walking?”  I eagerly asked. Papa glanced at me.  My eyes were widely open, wondering whether he was amazed at how observer a nine-year old was, or if he was rather annoyed at my scrutinizing question.
Papa raised his eyebrows and his words candidly came out with an unexpected answer.
“People always walk looking up and they miss valuable things that may be on the ground, like money or jewelry.”  Papa smiled.  “Some day I may find something that is worth a lot of money—a treasure.”
“Oh!” I’d never thought of hunting for valuable objects on the neighborhood streets, or in the grass at the park. 
“Have you ever found something like that?”  My curiosity had sparked now. 
“Of course.” Papa’s voice had a tone of pride.  “One day I found money, a few bills folded.  Another day I found a piece of necklace with a pearl, it was a fine pearl.”
“Really?” My amazement was evident. “I’m going to do the same!” I exclaimed, grinning. 

Who knows, I might be luckier than Papa and find even more valuable objects, I thought.
But weeks later I found out I wasn’t as lucky as Papa in my treasure hunt.  A shinny object on the ground, turned out to be just a piece of broken glass.  A small cardboard box left on the football field turned out to be simply trash. 
I gave up on my treasure hunt—I didn’t want to continue looking down to the ground.  Instead, I indulged in watching the kites waving on the sky during the summer, or contemplating the majestic mountains surrounding my hometown. 
I walked with Papa a year ago.  He now walked with a slow pace and listless gait.  He still looked down while walking—or that’s what I thought.  But after a keen observation, I realized that his interest was no longer in the treasure hunt from my childhood. 
His thoughts and motivation were elsewhere. 
They were on fond memories of Grandma, children, and grandchildren.  He enjoyed talking about Grandma, and our fun family times.  Twenty years have passed since Grandma met the Lord.  Papa reminisced about her with enthusiasm and darling love.  

Papa and I found a treasure together.  Our treasured memories of Grandma. 
That early morning on the beach I felt blessed with heartfelt memories of my grandparents.  Upon my return to the hotel where my family and I stayed on our vacation, I reached my cell phone and dialed Papa’s phone number...
“Hello?”
“Papa?”
“Oh, hi sweetie. What are you doing up so early?”
“Papa, it just so happened I was thinking of you...” 



30 comments:

Sandi said...

Oh, this post reminded me so much of my grandpa! He's been gone for over 20 years, but I spend so much time with him. He was a treasure hunter also, and while he only had an 8th grade education, he was one of the most well read and wisest men I ever knew.

Thank you for this beautiful post filled with your memories. It triggered my own memories and made me so happy!

Linda said...

Thank you so much for reminding me to treasure not only the memories of loved ones but to remember shared memories with those that are with us.

Ella said...

What a beautiful memory! It was heart-warming to read. My father now 85, has recently taken to sharing about his life's memories, and it is splendid to listen and be part of something so rich. We really do have so many memories to treasure, as your post so eloquently highlights.
-Ella

Mariette said...

Dearest Doris,

What a lovely story... Strange always that they use Papa for grandpa. We say Papa to our Daddy. But it sounds 'loving' and that is important! Guess that sharing fond memories does weave the bandage that is needed to heal wounds over time...

Love to you,

Mariette

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Such a beautiful, inspiring story! And a reminder to treasure those we love while we have them and the memory of their love after they are gone. Warm memories can be so healing and sustaining.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

My late husband and I used to walk along the beach and dream of our retirement,,,,,it didn't arrive.
But those memories will live forever.

Yvonne.

Ann said...

A lovely story Doris. Really lovely. I want to thank you for sending me your book too. It was here waiting for me when I returned from Ireland. Thank you so very much!

Retired Knitter said...

Beautiful story.

anthony stemke said...

This is a lovely poignant story, do you see the treasure?

DUTA said...

Your lovely story reminds me that it is memories that make us and they are therefore priceless.

I belong to those who loose things. Only once did I find something which seemed valuable: it was a ring with a stone that looked like a diamond (it was zirconia actually). The mere fact that I found something, for a change, caused me great excitement and I started ...to look down like your Papa.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Doris .. lovely story - reminding us to talk to our elderly nearest and dearest. Oddly enough I've just been asked today to record a father's stories, if I can get him to talk .. his son asked me - after the 60th anniversary blogpost I did for them. The son was overseas ..

Cheers - Hilary

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

A beautiful story, and so beautifully told. Thank you.

(Queenmothermamaw) Peggy said...

Doris your post is always so inspiring. My daughter is a MSW and working in a family shelter. She gets so discouraged sometimes. She has not learned yet that she cannot solve everyone's problems. I need her to learn your technique of turning sadness into a joyful occasion always looking on the bright side.
QMM

Bica said...

Loved reading your post, Doris. Reading it brought back wonderful memories that I shared with my grandfather. I only knew him from my perspective as a child, but I do remember deep, meaningful conversations, that are so precious to me now. He was a thinker - I wish I could have known him longer.

Jules said...

Once again you have managed to tug at one of my heart strings. Memories are all I have left with my grandmother, her mind slipping... memories are all we ever have. Our one true pearl!
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Vilisi said...

So beautifully written Doris.A phone call means so much to elderly family members.It really makes their day.Thank you for this gentle story.

From the Kitchen said...

Ah memories, they can be so comforting. Thanks so much for stopping by and leading me to your wonderful prose.

Best,
Bonnie

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

I was walking right along with you. What a sweet memory.

Doris said...

Hi Doris!
Thanks for visiting my blog! I do have a passion for the elderly. They are gems that are too often overlooked. I want read more of your stories....I so enjoyed this one!

Blessings to you!
Doris

Toyin O. said...

Memories are sometimes all we have left of loved ones.

Just_because_today said...

Sweet, very sweet memories and story

Reicha Ahluwalia said...

Some sweet old memories live forever... !
So simple yet so beautiful.
Nice :)

Arlee Bird said...

Such a beautiful story. Walking along the beach can be an experience of mental invigoration.


Lee
Tossing It Out

Amrita said...

Beautiful post as always Doris. Thanks for coming by my blog

Diana said...

Such a warm and sweet story! I always look down. I have found quite a bit of money a few times over the years!
Love Di ♥

Nelson Souzza said...

Hello! My first visit, will visit you again. Seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed your posts. Congrats for your work. If you wish to follow back that would be great I'm at http://nelsonsouzza.blogspot.com
Thanks for sharing!

Ann Best said...

A beautiful memory, beautifully told!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

Deb Shucka said...

Such a sweet and tender story. Thank you for the reminder about what's important to seek and what's not.

A Lady's Life said...

I often think about my grand parents
this is a very nice story :)

Rob-bear said...

Such a sweet story, and so very well told.
Thank you for sharing it.