11
Jul
12

Independence Day ( All men must make their way, come independence day)

In an attempt to be true to you and to myself I have to tell a different story than I usually tell.  I have told you of my love and my affection for my grandfather in some of my past posts and sometimes the romanticism of my words may cover up the other half of the story.  Recently I was home for the Fourth of July holiday and staying within those avenues, within those walls of my youth.  I don’t know when but sometime in the past two months I became a jogger.  A straight up Forest Gump and can run three to four miles before brushing my teeth.  (I know this is not that impressive but please note I have not always been the healthiest lad.) In the first few mornings of my trip home I would wake up early to the sounds of the American sparrows in the big Chestnut trees and the quiet hum of the air conditioner.  I would watch Katherine as I got dressed.  My aunt, who lives at my grandparents house now, had given us the master to sleep in, which of course was my grandfather’s room when he was alive.  I would take one last look in his mirror and then head out.  Narberth, Pennsylvania was were I came of age and I know those streets in my sleep. I lived there from ages12-14, important growing years for a young male. This day I ran down the tree-lined Wynnewood Avenue and passed the ball park where my grandfather managed young baseball teams for over fifteen years.  My aunt has this great picture of him in the dugout, drawing up the day’s lineup, cigarette in hand.  I ran past the train station, where my friends and I used to sit under the bridge and drink stolen beer, or where we would board for our many unauthorized adventures into center city Philadeplhia.  I rode that R2, R3 and R5 more by the time I was 14 than most businessmen.

I continued on my runs, up through downtown Narberth, past the old apartment of one of my first loves, Charity Brown.  I ran past her second story window where I would throw pebbles late at night and try to convince her to come out.  Like out of a story, this is where I sharpened my early age of romanticism; poems and pleads and walks home with her kisses still tingling on my lips.  It was good to be home and nice to run by the houses decorated with Fourth of July flags and Phillies gear.  I ran through the quiet neighborhoods, out past Merion Mercy Academy and turned back.  I ended my early morning excursions passing my grandfather’s deli, wanting to stop in and see if anyone remembered him.  I’d come up past his church, St. Margaret’s, and in the hot humid dawn of July think about the cold winter mornings he and I would go to mass, me, dying to get out as he prayed, probably for my dumb ass.  I ended the runs past my aunt’s old house on Price Avenue and think of her happy days there.  Her big house and big parties she would throw.  Eventually I came back down Sabine Avenue–how many nights did I walk down this street home?  My first experience of drinking, of sneaking out, of being with a girl.  Although these memories are thought of fondly now, I too have to think of my struggles and arguments with my grandfather.  My young hate and anger and his inability to quell it, to understand it as much as he tried.  You see, my friends, I aged him twenty years in five, and I always feel his health was compromised by me.  I still remember he and I wrestling one night on the floor of the dining room, my poor grandmother crying for us to both stop.  He was trying to teach me, to help me and, with my father no where in sight, I took my pain out on him.  My second day home this song came on my iPod. I literally just lost it. If I could have run back to my youth to apologize, to just tell him he was right and I was sorry, I would have, even if it was over four miles.

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1 Response to “Independence Day ( All men must make their way, come independence day)”


  1. 1 chrisy thompson
    July 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    My dearest friend,

    You are so amazingly talented and I couldn’t be more proud and grateful to have you as a friend. I love u guys n miss u lots…just knowing, you are where you are, brings peace to my heart…I know you’re doing wonderful things! My love to ur wifey;-) muah…..chrisy t:-)


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