Out on a limb

Out on a limb

Out on a limb
August 10
My goal it was to reach a star... I spread my wings, but flew not far I hoped to make it past the rim. Instead I'm stuck... out on a limb


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MAY 11, 2012 6:29AM


Rate: 14 Flag

This weeks fiction weekend prompt: 

Write a story that takes place in or involves somewhere you lived or knew well as a kid.  

It's funny in an abstract way, how we spend most of our lives thinking about the past. Although the title of my story seems to indicate it happened in the future, it too, is a story about the past.

Growing up, my father always preached, study hard, so you won't end up like grandpa! This philosophy, even at an early age seemed contradictory in so many ways. What was wrong with grandpa's life? Everyone that knew him loved and respected him, even my father. His smile had a magic in it that caused others, even the grumpy ones to smile back. Things didn't seem better when he smiled at you, they were better.

His hands were thick, the palms crisscrossed with deep fissures, he liked to call the road map of his life. They were the opposite of my fathers, soft, manicured hands. Although grandpa's hands were rough and scratchy, they always felt like silk when he'd hold my face in both hands and look deep into my soul.

Grandpa told me life’s biggest secrete when I was ten. “Never live in the past, because it holds no future. Most of all never waste today, because it's the only one you have for certain.” Those words made so much sense to me, simple and profound all in one. I repeated them to my father later that day, after another reminder to study hard, so as not to end up like grandpa.

My father only grunted, saying. “And what about the future? Your grandpa has nothing, because he only lived day for day! Ask your grandpa what his future looks like. I'd love to hear his explanation for that.” With that, my father was out the door. A busy man, with no time for today. The following week was filled with torment and indecision. Should I ask grandpa about the/his future? My father had sounded so certain I'd started to doubt grandpa's words.

Even though grandpa only made it to the eighth-grade, he was still the best reader in the whole family, maybe the whole world. Not a reader of books filled with words, no, grandpa was a reader of minds filled with questions.

He had let me stew for a full week, before asking, “What's bothering you boy?” And then as the flood gates opened, and I began to cry. I told him what my father had said, about the importance of the future, and that he, grandpa, didn't have a future because he'd never planned for it.

And now comes my fondest childhood memory!

Grandpa reached out, cupping my young, soft face into those old, weathered hands marked by a lifetime of living and smiled that magic smile saying. “My yesterdays are gone, and today, will be yesterday by tomorrow, but all my future lives on in you.”

Suddenly it all made sense, that funny thing grandpa would always say when things seemed to go wrong. He'd get a far away look in his eyes and say.

It happened next week, but to me, it only seems like tomorrow!”

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Grandpa Tanguay held a similar place in my life; I remember once asking him how he knew so much. "I just know things in my knower," is what he said.
A beautiful tale beautifully told. One nice thing about being old, our grandparents had interesting lives. My paternal grandfather was sailor in the Norwegian whaling fleet from the age of nine, and a carpenter and a sand hog when he jumped ship in the US. I remember those wonderful gnarled hands. R
So much to think about here but the best line I love the best is:
“Never live in the past, because it holds no future.

You lucky dog! I had no grandparents, being the youngest in a family of the youngests. Ahh! .. But both parents had absorbed the wisdoms of their elders, so I think they got osmose'd into me. And all those little adages, and truisms, just come back in, at the very moment you need them, and they get oh, so much richer with age! R. Oh.. and by the way.. I am SOOO lifting this phrase!
Only a rare few can make that philosophy work but it does us all good to think on it, plan and worry a little less, stop and look around, maybe raise a few more glasses. Great tale, Outona. Cheers!
John: thanks for reading and commenting. GP Tanguay is so right "The knower, knows all."

Gerald: with the name Andersen, I should have guessed there would be some Norwegian flowing in those stories of yours.
Thanks for stopping by.

Linda: thanks for commenting and rating. Glad you liked it.

Songbird: There is so much wisdom to be learned from age, it's too bad we have to get old before we realize it.

Seth: I'm all for the raising of glasses. I hope some day we can raise a few together.
So few stories about grandparents have hope. This had great hope. /R
How wise this grandpa was. Sucess comes in many packages. He knew what he passed on was just as important as what he was..in my estimation? A wise and caring man!
Makes sense to me. My grandpa wore his underwear on his head.
Now that was a sweet story. Enjoyed tremendously OOAL!
I had to read this story 3 times. Its a big story told in a few words.

real nice story.....R.
They will by now have said it all but I agree with Linda. Who knew. Loved my Gps. One of the best this week. :D
This was BRILLIANT! No one conjures the spirit of a character like you do. I'm only sorry it took me so long to get to reading this. So "effortlessly" profound (of course, you hinted to me how you were mulling over this story). You are back with a KABOOM.
I wish today that I had read this before so I would have had a better future today.
R++ (this one goes to Facebook, dude)
Such wisdom. Thank you for reminding us that academic and professional success are far from the only kinds of success out there!