Sunday, June 3, 2012

Grandpa Hugs

The scent of soybeans.  Warm.  Comforting.  My Grandpa Coons.

I happened to take a turn on a road last week that led me down memory lane.  When the aroma hit my nose, I was suddenly taken back to my childhood. 

It's Sunday morning and we're in the car.  Grandpa at the wheel, Grandma at his side.  My sister and I in the back.  We're wearing dresses and our Grandma's shoes.  She had the same size foot as us and we were amazed at her vast "collection" which hung on a rack on the back of the door.  Our hair is squeaky clean and brushed, held back with barrettes.  I'm holding my white, Precious Moments Bible, given to me by my grandparents.  We are on our way to church, where Grandpa preaches.

In that moment, alone in my car, yet filled with memories from a single scent, I was given a Grandpa hug.  In mere seconds so many fond moments of my childhood with him came flooding back.  I remembered Sundays spent traveling that road with him to church.  Listening to my sweet Grandpa share about the love of Jesus - and how you could see that love just by watching him smile.  Remembering his suits, and how he'd always let me pick out his tie to match.  And what a treat it was to go out as a family after service to have lunch.  But more than anything, that smile.  Grandpa could hug you with his smile.  It was a blessing to have that memory on an unexpected Friday afternoon all from the scent of soybeans.

Today was bittersweet.  A big day for our new church, a celebration and a coming together as one.  Both services were combined today, as many members shared their testimony on a video shown to the congregation.  I wrote last week about sharing our testimony and how difficult, yet helpful, that was.  As much as I wanted to be there today, I did worry that seeing (and reliving) those moments would be painful.  I worried how Noah would respond hearing it.  But I knew my church family was there to support us, and more than anything, knew the story needed to be shared for others to hear.  And although tears did again fall, it was a blessing.

Prior to the service, as we were greeting each other, a man shook my hand and it was as if I was looking into my Grandpa's face.  Grandpa McGuffin, my mom's dad.  With distinct McGuffin traits, this man shared my Grandpa's strong nose, his ears, his frame and his strong grip.  And he shared the twinkle in his eye that was like looking into laughter.  I probably held his hand a bit longer than he was comfortable and I felt myself glancing up at him throughout the service.  During the potluck, as I returned with a shared desert plate for Tim and me, I found him in my seat.  He was talking to a man in front of us but it gave me a chance to ask if he was perhaps related to me.  We shared a chuckle and he told me a story of another woman who'd asked him that (and I'm wondering if it was a member of my family now) because he looked like someone they knew.  While I didn't find a distant relative, I did receive another Grandpa hug from the moment.

A weekend bookended by Grandpa hugs.  Pretty special indeed.


Brownie said...

Ahh I love those smells and sounds that bring us back. Songs do that to me all the time! I hear a song and remember a moment. I had a loving grandpa, but he was harsh at times too. There are memories that I cherish so much! I thank God for giving us the opportunity to remember!

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