My Papa, Storyteller

I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandfather lately as he’s slowly becoming less and less tightly tethered to this world. I am missing him already.

Last night I remembered writing something on my most recent visit to his house. After a few hours of searching, I found it:

Papa tells London a Banner story as she sits in his lap holding her horses, lamp light washing across their faces. She listens so patiently, smiling, lost in galloping dreams. She looks at her horses, then tilts her perfect head and looks from the corners of her eyes up into his.

He doesn’t look back. He looks out—as if Banner were standing just beyond the dining room window. 

I figure he’s thinking about all the times he’s told this same story, all the perfect children who’ve sat patiently, smiling, looking into his dancing blue eyes. Little boys in cowboy boots. Little girls with pony tails. 

He told his own daughter about this horse. The blonde-headed, blue-eyed girl in his lap so much resembles her. It’s as if tonight were a night forty five years ago. Just the same.

But now it’s difficult to pull that eager child up into his lap. And the story lags a little as he forgets a detail or two, changing the horse’s color mid-story.

In the important ways, it’s the same.

He is at his best telling stories to the children he loves. The way his voice rises and his eyes twinkle—captivating. Even a two-year-old raised on Dora and an iphone sits absolutely still for as long as the story-telling lasts.