Friday, March 16, 2012

that gentle man

I only knew my father-in-law for a hand full of years.
I married in 1978 and he passed away in early 1983, yet, I can still hear his gentle lisp, his accent softly spoken.
He and Annie were a team in their old age, their daily rituals entwined.
She worked at the stove while he set the table, his slightly bent figure passing back and forth carrying the woven basket filled with  rich brown bread and white slices studded with fruit.
Theirs was a life filled with meaningful structure.
Prayer and church, quilting, gardening, music, reading, cooking, visiting.
He had learned to weave wicker as a boy on the sugar beet farms of Europe and bowls and trays were deftly turned out.
He loved plants of all kinds and his gnarled hands were gentle and wise.
He sang as he worked, his voice rising higher and higher....
He was my husbands father, my girls grandpa, my kind father-in-law.
It will be thirty years next spring since I saw him last, that gentle man.

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