2:56pm August 6, 2010. The hub's fall from a ladder kicked off a series of events unlike anything I've, or he's, ever experienced. True, those first months were horrific and frightening. However, as he began to heal we slowly started to breathe normally, sleep came more readily and we both realized just how miraculous this event was. The universe was speaking to us. No, more like shouting. One year ago today - Ladder Day.
Today, on this auspicious anniversary I want to share a simple story. As he progressed from bed-bound to wheelchair to walker each milestone was reason to celebrate. After the walker he still needed support for several months. Enter my mom. One day she arrived with a cane. Not just any cane. This cane was her great grandfather's cane. Hand-crafted in California, this cane was created for a tall man. Both my great grandfather and my grandfather, mom's dad, were 6'4. This cane is uncomfortable for anyone under 6 feet tall, which is my husband's height.
She unwrapped and handed me this cane with reverence, for it is very special to her. It is a thing of great beauty and elegance and deep meaning. My great grandfather gave this cane to my grandfather, who had his own name engraved along the top. My grandfather is my spirit guide. Gently touching the handle brought memories of my youth at his house. Weekends he would walk my sister and me to the store for snow cones, Dr. Pepper and a moon pie. He always dressed to the nines and always used the cane. When I was little he carried me and it was like being cradled by a mountain.
Its handle is fluted sterling silver. Rubbed soft over years of use it contains the pits and dings of fully appreciated lives. My grandfather's name is beautifully engraved. The shaft is solid mahogany and still sports two swaths of white where he once banged his cane atop a car. My mother shared the story. My grandfather loved to walk the few blocks into town, and often his huge, massive (fat) cat, Midnight, would walk with him. One day a man stopped his car, leaned out to talk to my grandfather and unwisely laughed at his cat. My grandfather loved that cat, and apparently laughing at Midnight was unacceptable. BAM! went the cane on top of the car and the man stopped laughing. That's as much of the story that I know but it was clear that one didn't mess with my granddaddy's cat!
Mother's blessings assured, Bob used my grandfather's cane with great care. We both enjoyed the comments that always came when we went on our outings. Men, in particular, were quite taken by the elegance of this cane, for it is indeed a gentleman's cane.
One day the physical therapist told Bob it was time to begin walking without the cane. It was a poignant moment for we both enjoyed being in its presence. Moreover, this cane brought to his experience a certain grace. He walked taller, arrived proudly, and felt more acceptable to society. Instead of feeling like a cripple he felt noble, distinguished and confident. It was as though my grandfather was there with us daily, channeling his strength and resolve through the handle of that cane up into my husband's spirit.
This is one of the few photos that I have of my grandfather and grandmother, my mom's parents. Thanks, grand daddy. For everything. I love you.