Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Opa's Candy (February 28, 2017)

He greeted us
With a toothless grin
And a twinkle
His eyes.

Offering forth
A small white 
Paper bag
To us.

His grandchildren.

We
The older grandchildren
Knew better.

To say
"No thanks"
To his offer.

Within
That white package
Was coarsely cut
Chewing tobacco.

Although
I have forgotten
It's taste.

Still remember
The look
On my cousins' face
Of surprise
And disgust.

As they took
A shred or two
Into their mouth
And chewed.

A sad sigh
Escapes me.

As I realize
It has been 33 years
He last drew
A breath.

Passing away
On my birthday
February 2, 1984.

Grabbing 
The long stale bag
Of coarse cut chewing tobacco
From my high boy dresser.

Tossing it
Into the garbage.

Bringing closure
To that part
Of my life.

Therisa © 2017

Author's Note: My 2800th written poem. My Opa like to tease us, the grandchildren, with his chewing tobacco, a ritual game that he played, whenever we would visit him and Oma, at their place. Never once, I did ever see him, spit out the tobacco, in the presence of us, grandchildren, which he bought, at the local co-op store, in Dunneville, Ontario.

20 comments:

  1. Some very vivid images here. He sounded like quite the character. Thanks for sharing, Therisa.

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    Replies
    1. He truly was, Mish. He lived through two World Wars, got married, during The Great Depression, paid for himself, my Oma and 9 of their 10 children, to settle in northern Alberta, from the Nederlands, in 1952. Had he waited another year, the federal government would have cover these expenses, for him. And yes, I do miss him, a lot, as I cried myself, dry, at his funeral.

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  2. We hang onto that love long after they are gone, in spite of what negative things transpired. Good to purge the bag, though, as it lets you move on. His toothless grin and twinkle in his eye stand out in this poem to me, though.;)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kathy. From my Opa, that my dad got his sense of humour, teasing my 26 cousins, along with my brother and I, with his brand of humour. My Opa stood about 4ft 8, with his shoes on, but, was a giant, in our hearts.

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  3. He seems a happy man, a character - hard to forget. Lovely write.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sara, my opa was one of a kind person, who will never grace this plane, again.

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  4. What a way to tease a child, and I do love how you got his happy memories from tobaccos

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    Replies
    1. Attitudes towards tobacco, were a lot than they are today, Bjorn, we're more naive, about the dangers that it poses to our long term health. My opa had another game that he played with us, grandchildren, but it left no memento, behind.

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  5. Oh my.....this is filled with memories. I think it would be so very hard to lose one's grandfather on your birthday. Your opa sounds like a very very special man.

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    Replies
    1. Lillian, his heart was filled with love and compassion, to us, grandchildren. Sadly, for almost a year, afterwards, I was stuck, in a prolong depression, which no one noticed.

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  6. Vivid images....grandparents have their own ways of humour...very interesting!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sreeja. And yes, they do.

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  7. It is amazing that you saved that chewing tobacco for so long.

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    Replies
    1. Keeping the bag of chewing tobacco, is the only part of this poem that fiction, Frank. As I needed a memento, to write this, but everything else is real. Especially, the love, I had for him, in the brief period of the time, that I knew him.

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  8. My grandfather was an artist. He drew caricatures on all his letters; priceless mementos. That year of your depression that no one noticed saddens me--but perhaps you hid it well.

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    Replies
    1. Too well, Glenn. If OSCARS were to handed out, to non-film actresses, I would won several of them, before my 20th birthday, and a lifetime achievement award, by now. Sad part is, my parents never realized that my last 3 years of high school, were filled with suicide attempts, on an almost nightly basis, for me.

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  9. Ah, he must have been so much fun to be with. I can imagine his impish grin from your images.

    -imelda

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Imelda. My opa had a gift of love, which he openly shared, with us, grandchildren. Even though, he didn't speak must English, we understand, what he was trying to say.

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  10. He sounds like a real cool grandpa.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, he was, Paul, a very mature kid, at heart.

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