I could see him sitting in the pre-dawn, cool morning air. I knew it was he by the faint silhouette along with the familiar cigarette in his mouth, the tip burning a vibrant orange illuminating the smoke. He never said much, but I knew he didn’t want me to see him smoking. Maybe that was enough to keep me from ever doing it.
He pretty much let me do the talking… or whispering in the pre-sunrise while everybody else was still asleep.
I was fascinated by how my great grandpa’s hand holding the cigarette would glow brighter orange as he took a large inhale on the cigarette. The bright lit paper crackled and raced toward his face that showed his age in the faint light of the cigarette.
I remember his big and crooked fingers along with his quiet demeanor. I didn’t know as a kid my hands and fingers would end up looking like his. In truth, I don’t remember anything earth shattering my great grandpa said or wisdom he passed along. I’m told I followed him around like a puppy dog, but I vaguely remember it. I wanted to know him more, to learn of great things. To hear grand stories, lessons from his life.
It’s a peculiar thing to be close to someone we don’t really know and yet feel immediately drawn to. I recall the stories my mom shared of her grandma and grandpa from when she was a child. I still do. She cherished her grandparents. We all tend to cherish the things that the people we cherish do. We generally love what they love when the person, place, or things are worthy. For some of us, even when they aren’t worthy.
We learn about people in many ways by learning what they care about – the things they cherish. I didn’t really know my grandpa, but I knew my parents, specifically my mom and how much she cared for me. If her grandma and grandpa were special to her, they were special to me.
An older custom when meeting a new person that was a friend of someone we trusted and considered honorable, when introduced, it was common to say something like, “Any friend of Carl’s is a friend of mine!” It was a way of showing respect to the mutual friend doing the introduction and letting the new person know that they shared mutual values and interest.
We’re naturally drawn to the ones in life that share our same interests and values. Who they are say everything about who we are. It’s easy to have the same values as our parents when we’re children, but as adults we have our own choices to make; God’s far-reaching miracle of free will… if you will…
The things cherished are added to across our lifetime and the memories we carry with us remind us of that fact and where we’ve been. The things appreciated come and go. Things cherished are the things we carry within our soul. When we approach the things that draw us in with the hearts of children, the things we cherish look much like the things did when we were children.
As children, we cared about the things that mattered most; the love and care of others. Turns out I cherish the things my great grandpa cherished; The simple things in life… Things that the value can’t be calculated by using numbers…
Only the heart.