Essay My Debt to Grandfather

Essay My Debt to Grandfather

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Walking back into my grandparent's kitchen after being gone for so many years and under the present circumstances caused a flood of bittersweet emotions that seemed to steal the very breath from my body. As my eyes combed the room, I noticed people, some I knew, some I didn't, standing in small groups of two or three, all of them wearing black and all of them trying to maintain a solemn composure by laughing at jokes that weren't funny or by remembering a past best left unremembered. The funeral had been over for hours, but like the small sucker fish that symbiotically clings to the underside of the great white shark in hopes of feeding on the shark's leftovers, everyone at the wake seemed to want to hang on, as if they too were waiting for their own great white shark to cling on to.

A feeling of remembrance, longing, and anger, all wrapped up in a neat, stinging package, seemed to grip me as I made my way to his place at the table. The sound of the shuffling of my own feet against the worn brown and black linoleum floor pounded in my ears as I ventured to the one place that, until this very day, had been off limits to all of Lee Singleton's children. The battered gray file cabinet that sat beside by grandfather's wooden Captain's chair had a double set of drawers and a heavy, somber-looking padlock. As I moved closer to his seat at the kitchen table, the cabinet cried out to me, gestured to me, as if begging me to view the contents within. Like a child attempting to shoplift his first gumball from the local general store, I nervously fumbled with the huge ring of assorted keys, hands shaking, palms sweating, until finally I found the right key and opened the padlock that protected my grandfather's surplus of financial ledgers ...


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...dn't help but cry as I read his notes, for I knew that I had never settled my debt with my grandfather, at least not monetarily. As I closed the book, I also knew that my grandfather had not made such a financial move because he felt that he would never get his money after I moved out of the house. Almost as if he knew that I would someday read his red notebook, my grandfather had kept his last transaction a secret in order to teach me his final lesson. His entire adult life had been spent dealing with finances and bookkeeping, and he had used his wealth of knowledge on the subject to teach his children not simply about money, but about life. This lesson, to give whatever possible, whenever possible, seemed to culminate the life that my grandfather led. And this last transaction made me realize that he never loaned, but gave, every time he wrote in his red notebook.

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