It has just been one of those weeks.
I wish I could road trip to the farm. Pull into the yard, announce my arrival by doing a big donut in front of the drive shed, kicking up stones.
The big kitchen, the one my uncle extended. The large creaky oak table. My grandfather sitting at one end, fiddling with a pearing knife and a tomato. My grandmother sorting something at the other end.
When I’d walk in, they’d greet me. I’d give them both a hug and I’d get a wet kiss on my cheek that I’d discreetly wipe away. Yuck. Who wants wet kisses on the cheek from their grandparents? I wish I could get one today.
My grandfather always had something of interest to show me. He’d moved on from the electronic Brother typewriters with their built in memory and he was on to “Computers”. There was usually a new joke to show that someone had sent to him over the I-n-t-e-r-n-e-t. Most of the time the jokes were funny but some of them I didn’t quite get and I wasn’t about to ask for an explanation. That just wasn’t how it was.
You either knew the answer or you didn’t. If you didn’t know, you watched, learned and never made the same mistake twice.
My grandfather was usually up for a debate, one I’ll never forget. It was a debate on world politics and I ran out of intelligent responses and absently retorted to him, “that’s funny”
“It’s not ‘funny’,” he reprimanded in the stern voice that scared me, “you find a better expression or don’t say anything at all.”
I’ve tried to follow his advice but I haven’t always been successful. I sometimes catch myself saying “that’s funny” when I am at a loss for words and immediately am taken back to that musty farm house and sticky kitchen table and I feel lonely, for a time, for a place and for a family.