Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Eye of the Beholder

When I parked my car, I saw a menacing young man, arms and neck covered with tattoos, standing in the driveway. I knew I had the right house because I had been here before, and it was the middle of the day, so I took a deep breath, gave him a curt nod, and walked quickly to the front door. The lady of the house let me in as always, and I spent some time with her dying husband, and then sat and talked with her. As I opened the door to leave, I felt myself tense; the man, with his shaved head and surly expression, was still there, between the front door and my car. Just then, the old lady said to me, 'oh come and see my garage. My husband used to do all this work, but he can't climb ladders and paint any more, so now my little one does it for me,' and she beamed with pride at the man, her grandson. Her “little one,” taller and broader than either of us. In a flash, instead of the face of an angry, dangerous man, I saw the bored expression of my own 7-year-old grandson, and tears burned my eyes.


Emily@theNest said...

I love these stories of your work, what a privlidge it is to be there at such a sacred time. There are massive traditions and rites around dying and waking/funerals in Ireland- and a tie when you meet al those far-flung family members who converge when someone passes. It's one of those things that I hope never changes about us, it (usually) gives huge peace to the family. I have been popping in and out, I check your to-do list everytime, and I laugh every time!!!!!!

Mrs A said...

A long time ago, my husband and I used to go on motorbike trips with some others, you know bikie types. Some of the men had tattoos and long beards, but these were just everyday people, kind and funny, and great company, nice that we are all different.

spindelmaker said...

I totally agree with Emily: I love these stories of yours! Thanks for sharing.
"You shouldn´t judge the dog on his hair" is a norwegian saying. Looks funny when translated :-)