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|A Son's Forgiveness and a Father's Pride (standard:Inspirational stories, 2030 words)|
|Author: CL Schilling||Added: Nov 16 2011||Views/Reads: 1691/1005||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|A short non-fiction story about forgiveness, love, and family.|
by CL Schilling “So Bob, how do you feel about sticking your hands in the toilet?” my grandfather asked loudly as he leaned his small frail body against the large booth seat and then stared back at us. “Yeah, I will do it,” my father replied while looking down at his cup of coffee looking embarrassed. Across the table from us, a well dressed African American woman in her mid 50s looked at my grandfather awkwardly as he put creamer in his coffee without realizing how loud his voice carried. Accompanying my father and grandfather to close our family cottage October every year was something of a tradition. Taking place usually on a Saturday, the three of us would end the summer in Conneaut Lake, PA by putting up storm windows, draining the hot water tank, and yes, even draining the toilets in the cottage with a sponge before putting antifreeze down the drains. But while there was a lot of work to be done, I not only had the opportunity to be amused by some of the bizarre, almost senile comments my grandfather would say but also spend time with my him. This was especially important since I wasn't as close with my father's side of the family as I was with my mother's family, especially her father. There was also something sentimental about the time I spent with my father and my grandfather too. There we were, three generations of Schilling men, the only males in our entire family that carry the Schilling name, spending time together. The leaves were beginning to fall off the trees taking away from the beautiful Pennsylvania autumn foliage in 2001 as I, a high school senior, helped my dad pull a water softener out of a small shed beside the cottage and into my grandfather's car so it could go back to home with him and be put in his basement so it wouldn't freeze. And of course any project with my father and my grandfather in charge usually involved a lot of swearing and anxiety, especially if a problem arose. “I think it's best we get the salt out of it first, Bob,” my grandfather said. My grandfather was once a quiet yet sarcastic World War II Army officer and a successful business man. But by 2001, he was in his late 80s. It amazed me how different he looked from the photographs I would see when he was a young military officer dressed in his uniform and in other photographs was a successful business man who wore a fresh pressed suit and was dining with business associates. But all that passed him because in 2001 he stood hunched over that four foot tank looking old with his hearing aids which stuck in his ears reminding me of Uhura from Star Trek. “Well, I can't get the salt out of it Dad, there is no way of pulling it out. We either move it this way or it ain't moving at all.” I could never really understand why my father would occasionally use words such as ‘ain't,' especially when he was frustrated or angry. For a highly educated man with a Masters Degree in Public Health and a job as a health physicist, it baffled me why he would choose such words. Though he never used poor English around my mother who as an English teacher, for she would kill him if she heard him say ‘ain't.' My grandfather continued to stare silently into the empty water softener cylinder which had salt pebbles collected at the bottom. He then shook his head as if he was looking at a old friend who was laying dead in a casket. “Well, if you think you can move it, you can try. I can't be much of a help though,” he finally replied. “Chris and I can get it,” my dad said as he started rolling it out of the shed. The objective was simple; place the water softener into the backseat of my grandfather's station wagon. But you can probably figure it wasn't going to be that simple. Click here to read the rest of this story (138 more lines)
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