Don’t shut your eyes tight

We were sitting at the kitchen table playing with the play doh. She was making ” spaghetti and meatballs” and he was making “solid shapes”.

I grabbed a chunk of the play doh and started mashing and squeezing it through my hands. Transported back in time at the smell of the fresh new play doh.

Then I just listened.  I listened to the happy chatter of our 4 yr old granddaughter and 6 yr old grandson, as they talked about their lives!

And as I listen, I find out that the life of a 4-year-old in preschool includes taking a nap, and she is not real fond of this requirement.  It is in fact, a very traumatic event in this little girl’s life.

So apparently her big brother has come to her rescue, and has been giving her some advice on the matter.

“Did you do what I told you to do?” he asks?   “When it’s time to take a nap, you just lay down, but you don’t shut your eyes tight, just squeeze them almost all the way closed, and it will look like you’re asleep, but you can still see everything that is going on!”

Sounds like good solid “big brother” advice to me!  I ask him if that is what he did when he was in preschool.

“Yes! One time when my dad came to pick me up, he thought I was sleeping, but I could see everything”.

“Do you think your dad ever found out that you weren’t  really asleep?”   He assured me that his dad never found out.

Ahh…the “innocence” of youth!  Or is it?

A smell to remember

There are certain smells that take me back to a place, or a person in an instant!

For example, the smell of WD-40 takes me back to the memory of my Dad, and his strong hands. He would use this unique product when he was working on our family cars. My Dad would also use it to clean his hands from the grease and the grime of the engines. The smell of the WD-40 would linger long after his hands were cleaned, and the association of the WD-40 to my Dad began at a very early age.

WD40 picture

It has been a very long time since I have smelled my Dad’s hands. I can’t even really remember the sound of his voice anymore, but, if I happen to get a whiff of WD-40, I am instantly transported to another place and time, and once again, I’m reminded of his hands. And then I am reminded of my Dad.

My Dad’s hands. The hands that would hold me on his lap, and gently cover my ears when the pain from the ear ache was too great for me to bear.

The hand he would offer, for me to squeeze as hard as I could, in an effort to distract me from the impending pain of a needle.

The hand that covered mine, as he would guide me through the steps of casting the line of a fishing pole, or shifting the gears on the car while he was driving.

This is the hand, that I was sure would hold mine through every important event in my life.

I have long since tried to understand, why it would be, that my Dad would die when he was only 40 years old. The questions have all been asked.  This side of Heaven, there simply are no good answers that will satisfy my heart.  But over the years, I have grown to accept it for what it is. A fact that can not be changed.

I can no longer hear his voice, or hold his hand, but I can hold on to a memory.  A memory that can be sparked by something as unique as the smell of WD-40!

And yes, I admit, I still have days, when it sure would be nice to be able to squeeze my Dad’s hand, as hard as I possibly can.