Along The Way

car

They were going to the pool; she was wearing her bathing suit, no socks, and sneakers.

“Grandpa?”

“Yeah?”

“Thanks.”

“For what?”

“You remembered my name!”

Molly’s grandfather chuckled and then grew quiet. He focused on the breeze blowing across the top of his head in his ‘65 Ford Mustang convertible.

“Can you sing louder, Molly?”

She shook her head.

“Why not?”

“Because it’s weird singing to one person.”

“You want to be a whatchamacallit and you’re shy?”

“A songwriter, Grandpa.”

“Well. I know you like to write,” he was thrilled over recalling how she loved to scribble in that little notepad she kept in her pocket. “So sing.”

Molly looked over at him, smiling. She reached for the knob on the radio to turn the volume up. “It has to be loud,” she explained.

***

They drove on. It was getting darker. Molly reminded her grandpa to turn the headlights on. A few minutes later she asked, “Are we almost there?”

Her grandfather paused. “Where?”

Molly sat back and stared ahead.

Her grandfather looked over at her profile. She looked exactly like his daughter. He knew she was his granddaughter. He knew they were going somewhere. He turned his head at the street corner, searching.

Molly lowered her eyes. She hated that her grandfather was changing. She glanced over at him. He smiled and nodded. Yes, he remembered.

“You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t try, right? Chase your dreams, Molly. You’ve got what it takes to be a successful singer. I believe in you.”

“Songwriter, Grandpa. I believe in you too.”

“Look at that,” he said, pointing to the side of the road. “There’s a shiny, new sign that tells us we’re heading in the right direction.”

The sun was setting on the passenger-side of the car as they entered the pool’s parking lot — the reason — Molly believed, that her grandfather kept turning to look at her, eyebrows raised, with a slight smile on his face.

***

Dedicated to my paternal grandfather who passed in 2004 due to secondary complications from Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes when I’m feeling overwhelmed, there’s nothing like a mental ride in his Mustang to the neighborhood pool.

 

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73 thoughts on “Along The Way

  1. Fun and touching story Kelly. And clever way to honor your grandfather and your memories.

    • Thank you, Brad. Nice to see you. I did have fun writing this little story last Saturday morning. Got lost in memories of my grandpa’s car for some reason. I have a nephew who is a spokesperson for GM, and I went to the auto show last weekend to see him do his thing… snapped a photo sitting in a 2018 Mustang there as well! It’s really more of a muscle car, unlike what I remember of my grandpa’s convertible, but maybe that’s how he saw his back then. He sure did pamper it! Thanks again. 🙂

  2. This is beautiful and poignant, Kelly, and made me sad. There are some sufferers of Alzheimer’s who seem to retain their sweet natures to the end. Your grandfather clearly was one of them. Lovely memories. ❤ I hope you’re doing well. I’ve missed your lovely posts. ❤

    • Hi Diana and thank you! Doing very well and I hope you are too!
      Started writing this as memoir but ended up as fiction because it worked better. My grandpa didn’t have the disease when I was a child, actually, and he was a man of very few words… but I have wonderful memories of riding in his car in my swimsuit in the backseat without a seat belt on! I was as tall as the back of the seat and rode in his car standing up all the time! Can you imagine that today?! It wasn’t until he was much older when he started showing symptoms of what is indeed a very sad, awful disease. Thankfully, I have more happy memories of him than sad ones. 🙂

      • I remember the “no seatbelts” days, Kelly. Standing up in the seat sounds wonderful. My parents used to let up sit on the hood! Ha ha. Insane. A lovely story and I’m glad it was fiction with happy memories 🙂

      • On the hood?! Well, I hope you were stationary or at the drive-in or something! It’s like they put us in (or on) the car and just hoped for the best… “Hold on, kids!” right?!
        I also ran around barefoot from morning till night… bee stings and cuts on my feet and legs… I won’t even get started about playing outside back then. But as a parent, I couldn’t have been more different when my own kids were little. They were strapped and buckled and tied into everything! Too funny! 🙂

      • They would drive slow on the back roads of Vermont, Kelly. When my daughter was a baby we had front-facing carseats that went in the front seat and looked like buckets. With the grandson, you’d think we were headed to space. Ha ha. Times change and hopefully little lives are saved. 🙂

      • Ha ha! Yes, here’s to progress. And I hope His Royal Highness is doing well. 🙂

      • Cute as can be. Growing up so fast!

      • Aw… they tend to do that, don’t they? Tell your daughter it’s time for more! lol

  3. A beautiful gentle story, Kelly – Molly’s innocence to his disease and her annoyance of his forgetfulness is movingly captured. Also her misunderstanding of his smiles is sweet, although the reader knows the real reason. A lovely loving tribute to your grandfather. You must miss him so.

    • Thank you so much, Annika, for such a spot-on comment. Yes, a tribute to him based on very fond memories. Really enjoyed writing it as well. Thanks again for your support. 🙂

  4. A beautiful and elegant story, Kelly. Very moving. 🙂

  5. What a sweet post, and a bittersweet memory of your grandfather. The loss of mental sharpness is one of the tragedies that we most fear about aging. It happens to so many, and is heartbreaking for a family.
    Nice to see you here, Kelly. I too have missed your posts, but I understand the cutback…have done that myself. Hope all is well with you.

    • Hi Van and thank you for the lovely words. Good to see you! All is well, hope the same is true for you. Yes, I agree, those fears are real for many. I fear it myself especially since there is a genetic component. It’s a complex disease for sure; incurable and in some cases preventable. Hope you have a nice evening, thanks again. 🙂

  6. aw, what a sweet and beautiful tribute to him –

  7. A very sweet and touching story, Kelly. A special memory of a dear man, I’m sure. I think most of us have at least known someone lost to Alzheimer’s and understand what a cruel thief this disease is. This was a powerful personal story.

    • Thanks, Debra. Good to see you! Your comment prompted me to look up its prevalence… 44 million people have it worldwide according to 2016 statistics, with 5.2 million Americans now living with it. Good idea to get behind interventions and treatments for ourselves and others with numbers like that. Thanks again for the visit, hope you have a great day. 🙂

  8. Beautiful, Kelly, and all too real for me. 😢 Love the old Mustangs too.

  9. A very sweet and touching story.

  10. Peace to your memories.

  11. We need definitely to remember those we loved who had changed during the later years in their lives… with the memories of all the good times…. Diane

  12. Wow very touching story.

  13. A great story honoring the memory of your grandfather and your LOVE for him. Touching.

    • Thanks, doc. Yes, I LOVED him and my grandma very much.;)
      I posted a photo of my grandma’s tea set with a post I wrote not too long ago, come to think of it. I’ll have to write something about my maternal grandparents as well, whom I LOVED very much too! lol
      Nostalgia overload!
      Hope you are well, always appreciate your visits. 🙂

  14. Well written and touching. We’re such fragile creatures.

  15. Reblogged this on Art by Rob Goldstein and commented:

    from Nurse Kelly

  16. Lovely, poignant, a light, deft touch

  17. Good to have that memory to warm your heart.

  18. Great memory to hold dear to your heart! 🙂

  19. Lovely, poignant story of a day with your grandfather. How difficult it must have been for you to watch him deteriorate. Beautiful tribute, Kelly. 🌺

    • Thank you, Nancy. Yes, it is very difficult to watch a loved one deteriorate when there is absolutely nothing you can do to reverse the process…
      I think accepting the reality that they are gone yet still here is the hardest part of dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
      Thank you so much for reading, sending you a big virtual hug and happy thoughts of spring today. Take care, Nancy. 🙂

      • You are a strong, caring person. Bless you. Prayers for comfort. 🌺 Spring is my favorite time of the year. The lovely flowers and blossoming trees delight the eyes. 🙂

      • Aww thank you, Nancy. Spring is my favorite too! Wish it would warm up- I’m out running errands & freezing! Hope you are enjoying the weekend! 😊🌷🌷🌷

  20. Such a great way to honor your grandfather. Touching story.

    My grandpa has Alzheimer’s & dementia. My mom and I, take care of him and he’s the best grandpa in the world. He is fighting to be here with us. I love him very much.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. 😦

    • Thank you, Charlie. I’m very sorry for your situation as well. Your grandfather is a lucky man to have the love and care he is receiving from you and your mother. Wish all the best for you. 🙂

  21. Beautiful story, Kelly. Sad to see your family members change and feel helpless to stop it. What a wonderful memory you have here. xo

  22. A heartfelt piece. Excellent work, dear Lady.

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