Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dallas does...Reminders

My grandpa reminds me of Hank Williams,
though I can't say I ever met him.
Or Hank Williams for that matter.

But there's something in the way Hank sang that makes me think,
"Yes, there's something there that was in Ken Jenkins, I reckon."
Something about the way Hank Williams existed in country music that reminds me
Of who grandpa was to the women in his life.
Women we have in common.
Women who were entirely different people to him than they are to me.
Marsha, his daughter, a little girl on ponies and a college girl just an hour away
Marsha, my mother, busy with schoolwork and raising two kids
Evelyn, his wife, putting partner on the golf course and mate of many years
Evelyn, my grandma, baker of perfect cookies and laundress of so many tiny loads.

"What's cookin', good lookin'," Hank Willaims asks,
And I answer, "Frankly, Hank, an awful lot,
For I really do think he's there in your lyrics for me to find."
There, also, in the stories my grandma tells
And in the way my mom's eyes still get misty on his birthday.

"Who was Ken Jenkins?" I ask myself.
Knowing that he's still here for me to find.
Gone before I was even an idea,
But here in the memories of the women I love.

"Was it scandalous, loving grandpa?" I ask grandma for a laugh,
Knowing that age differences were a different matter back then.
She loved him, I think,
In the kind of way that meant making his favorite desserts
that she didn't even like herself.
And waking up early for work together
And still missing him over two decades later.

"Grandma never got a boyfriend," mom says,
"Because she wanted to be there for you kids."
But I know that's only half the truth
Because there isn't going to be another Hank Williams
And there wasn't going to be another grandpa.

I like to think that grandpa would have liked me
The way I grew-up looking just like childhood photos of his daughter
The way I laugh more than I cry
And have plenty of love to go around.

I like to think that I took over for Ken Jenkins
Taking care of his women
Giving them someone to worry about
And someone to bake for.
Someone to dream big dreams to share with them
Someone with big hugs and big joy.

My grandpa reminds me of Hank Williams,
though i can't say I ever met him.
Or Hank Williams for that matter.

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