Acade(me)

The dissertation was only the beginning.

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T: Amazing Husband
ST: Three-year-old Wonder
Prof. G: Advisor I
Prof. C: Advisor II
Julie: Stylish Sister
Rob: Awesome Brother
Belle: Our Cat
Bill: Grumbling BIL
Rita: Uncomplicated SIL
SMU: Smallish Midwestern University
Doctoral University: where I got my Ph.D.
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Quote of the Day
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Double-Take
In January 2003 my grandfather on my Mom's side, Al, died. He had been battling Alzheimer's for several years, and had repeated bouts of pneumonia that landed him in the hospital every few weeks. My relationship with him in the last few years of his life was sporadic since I lived out-of-state most of the time, so many of our interactions were limited to Christmastime. He was a sweet, ultra-Catholic, devoted family man who always had a toothpick in his mouth and seemed to wear brown pants nearly every day of the week. My mom and her sisters were devastated when he died, even though everyone knew it was "for the best," and my grandmother says that she still receives "signs" from him every now and again to show that he is looking out for her.

This afternoon, I swear I saw my grandfather.

We had several big trees taken down yesterday, and today a separate company was sent out to grind the tree stumps left behind. A red truck towing a huge stump grinder pulled up in our driveway just as ST and I were getting home. An elderly man (about 75) hopped out of the cab and I did a double-take: same long face, same twinkling eyes, same silver hair peeking out from the sides of the seed cap, which seemed a bit too large for his head, same zip up spring/fall jacket, same brown pants, same shaky gait. This man seriously was a ringer for my deceased grandfather. I am certain that if my mother or my aunts had been here, they would have rushed to embrace this stranger who looked so much like their father had looked before he got too sick to recognize them.

The man was nice, although difficult to understand because his voicebox had just been removed after a bout with throat cancer*. We had a lovely chat (and even ST chimed in once he was able to understand that the man's voice wasn't creepy, just different), he ground the stumps in our yard in about 20 minutes, and then packed up his equipment. Before he left, he pressed my hand and held it for a few seconds longer than normal, a twinkle in his blue eyes. Then he left.

As he left, I noticed the sign on the back of his truck: Al's Tree Service.

Funny how those little things can brighten an otherwise dreary day, and how suddenly, I feel very, very loved.

* Later, when recounting this story to T, ST said, "... and Dad, this man was hard to hear because he had a sickness in his throat." I asked ST what the sickness was called, but he couldn't remember. I prompted him with, "Can..." ST nodded and blurted out, "Yes, he was sick with CAN-taloupe."
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 9/21/2006 10:42:00 PM  
4 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 8:35 AM, Blogger RageyOne said…

    I firmly believe that those who have left us come back to us at times. Sometimes it is clearly evident, as in your case and sometimes it is subtle and we realize it later.

    It sounds like you had a great experience today and ST did as well.

     
  • At 10:20 AM, Blogger phd me said…

    That's the sweetest thing I've read in a long time.

     
  • At 1:05 PM, Blogger Aliki2006 said…

    Oh, how amazing--what a moving moment. Thanks for recounting it here...

     
  • At 10:40 PM, Blogger Lilian said…

    Yes, a very tender moment.

    The cantaloupe story, though, that's my favorite!! This happens all the time with my sons! I have to remember to write these down...

     
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