Sunday with Grandpa

I love the smell of my grandparents’ home. It smells like my baby brother and I sitting at the kitchen table eating beef patties, with a hint of my flustered grandmother screaming at my cousins and I to stop the “rompin’ inna da house”, and an underlying aroma of music… the melodious sounds of musicians past and present baring their souls from my grandfather’s stereo system, their tunes quietly reverberating through the house. And finally there’s a scent I just can’t place, and probably never will. My aunts and uncles could though. My grandparents. My great grandmother. I know my mother certainly could. And my father. I imagine they walk through the door and take in the sweet fragrance of the promise they made and kept to love, honor, and cherish each other.

I think all the grandchildren will admit to having spent hours analyzing this painting that hangs over the couch in the basement, envisioning our parents’ lives in Jamaica, and understanding that this scene before us was the reason we were different from other American kids. I don’t know that any of us quite knew what it really meant to be Jamaican, but we embraced what little we knew in our own way.

My grandparents purchased this lamp at a flea market. They used to go to the flea market all of the time and they would take my oldest cousin Michele with them. She was young at the time and after going week after week she finally said to my grandparents, “Why is it that we go to this flea market and I’m the only one scratching?!” Turns out she had a dog with fleas, but didn’t know it and thought she was getting them from the flea market.

The wind chimes… I hit my head on these things EVERY SINGLE TIME I visit this house. I'm like a cat with a bell around my neck warning all of the mice! You’d think after hitting my head on them time after time after time, I’d have learned my lesson by now. Annoying, but pretty.

No great story behind this mug... He got it from the pistol club, years ago. Didn’t like the club much, but liked the mug and so he kept it.

The bar. As a kid that bar was so cool! I couldn’t wait to have my own house with a basement (tough find in Southern California) so that I could have a bar as cool as grandma and grandpa’s. As a child I didn’t quite know that bar = alcohol. I just knew that having a bar meant you could have fun dance parties that lasted until well after my bedtime. And to me, that was pretty flipping cool.

Finally the dresser of loved ones. I’ve given up on saying that that dresser won’t be able to hold another photograph. Grandpa cherishes all of the wonderful people who have crossed his path and the paths of his loved ones. He has proudly displayed photos of people he’s never met because to him, our loved ones are his loved ones. After spending time looking at all of the photos that I’ve looked at every visit since I was 8, I realized that my grandfather’s ability to love knows no bounds and so there will always be room on that little dresser for one more picture.

Technology is so remarkable. I was showing my grandpa my camera and telling him that it could take thousands of photos. Sure beats 24 huh? Or 36? Remember that? We both laughed. But later on as I flipped through the photos I took and replayed my wonderful Sunday afternoon in my grandparents’ home, the home where my mother was raised, the home where my parents got married, the home where my brother and I played, it became clear to me that my camera may be able to hold thousands of photos, but there will never be a memory card big enough to capture the essence of that beautiful home on Clarendon Road.

Grandpa and Me. I put the camera on timer, but couldn't find a place high enough and besides I think grandpa had had enough pics for one day.


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