Grandfather is a dreamer-his favorite place to dream is an old wooden chair on the porch, usually with a dog or two sprawled at his feet.
He says he doesn’t mind that sometimes in their dreams they bark or run and wake him-that on occasion they even accompany him in his.
Women are attentive to what they perceive to be his needs-a cushion made to sit on, a blanket folded and draped over the back to ease the confrontation between old bones and hard seasoned wood-always surreptitiously glancing his way as he dreams to see if he has awakened and would like a cup of coffee with a biscuit to accompany it.
Revered, loved, and respected-someone whose words are valued, someone to ask advice of-a dreamer, storyteller, teacher, and historical archive.
He is a giant to me- a survivor. Eighty plus years of age and still walking upright, straight as an arrow as they say, unburdened by the inequities he has experienced, endured….unbreakable and undefeated.
Grandfather says there are a lot of different types of dreams-some he refers to as play dreams that can take place either while sleeping or awake-others would call these awake play dreams daydreams or maybe even fantasies, and Grandfather allows that is as good a way to refer to them as any-but sometimes he thinks people get lost in them and believe that is the way of it.
I asked him once if he ever has nightmares and he said no he won’t allow that, but sometimes he dreams of real things and the nightmare they represent.
That a person shouldn’t fear such dreams but look at them as a learning experience, a way to find or ask for a solution, and that often a solution will appear in a dream if asked for.
At times if he would know something he will pray and ask for it to be shown to him, and often as not it is-when it isn’t he puts it aside and assumes it isn’t something to know and Creators way of telling him so.
Grandfather seldom says I had a dream last night, or this afternoon while sleeping in his chair. When he relates one he does so after having considered it for a time and believes it has relevance, or maybe one of those play dreams to joke and laugh about.
Grandfather believes that once a question is asked and an answer given that should suffice-that it shouldn’t be necessary to repeat it-kind of like that chair. When asked if he would like a new one he said no with a smile, that old chairs are like old men-they have stories to tell and he enjoys a good story as much as the next person.
So no one asks again about replacing the chair-it is a compromise he makes to the ways of women to accept the cushion and the blanket, a gratitude for their concern and a desire to remove a minor worry for them.
Like the fuss they make over him in the winter when going outside to assure he is bundled up and will be warm-and the fuss he in turn makes to assure it will be the same for children, that they are properly attired and will be warm.
Generations looking forward and backward from different vantage points with a common desire-the essence of who the nations have been, the center of relationships, the balance and harmony sought.
We talked about education once and Grandfather said to know things is good but it seems to him people only want to know big things, that they have no interest in the little simple things and fail to understand it is those little simple things that make good friends and relationships, that he’s happy he doesn’t know a lot of big things-that if he did they would probably have pushed all those little things out and he would be the worse for it.
But the truth of it is what he knows are big in importance to living and understanding our role as human beings-and that is why I say he is a giant, a tree whose roots are many and run deep.
“An ungrateful man is like a hog under a tree eating acorns, but never looking up to see where they come from.”
Grandfather has always looked up, and all around him are better for it.