Memories of Grandpop
(You can listen to this piece on S2E8)
There used to be an oak grove in this area. Tall, greedy trees with arms stretching out to the sun. I used to love coming up to the oak grove on Saturday mornings just before sunrise. Grandpop would usher me and my cousins into his rusty pickup truck to gather wood and hunt rabbits and deer and squirrels with BB guns our mamas pretended not to know about. Joe was the littlest of the pack of cousins. The runt, but he always managed to bring home his kill, too. Grandpop expected nothing less.
Out in the oak grove, Grandpop taught us how to start a fire and make a lean-to. He taught us how to identify pawprints and make a splint. All six of his grandchildren were eager for those Saturdays right before sunrise. To learn survival. To learn life skills. To learn the ways of Grandpop.
This oak grove used to be the place where we’d play hide and seek when we weren’t hunting or foraging or learning survival skills. The place where we took polaroid photos of mundane moments that felt so spectacular to us. Just grandkids of our Grandpop horseplaying and having fun. Now we return to this place with our own kids. This place with no more oak trees. No more wood to gather. No more game to hunt. But we come here still. Every year we gather in honor of grandpop to see the sun rise.