Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Rocking Gently on the Waves -- jcarolek

My grandfather painted some great paintings. I have shared them before in my blog. I love these paintings that grace the walls of my house. They help keep me connected to a man born more than a century ago.

Tonight I was looking at the ship. This ship is anchored on the wall above the mantel in my living room. I supposed I will always keep it in the living room, for it was always on my family’s living room wall as I grew up. There is something abiding about this particular painting that grounds me.

I recall lying on the living room floor with my brother Tim, a huge piece of brown paper on the floor between us, upon which we drew the island paradise we were sure we would find and live in once we were “all grown up.” And above us the ship rocked gently on the waves.

And I recall lying under the card table in the same living room, carefully affixing stamps into my stamp albums, listening to Burl Ives sing Waltzing Matilda, lost in my own little world. And above me, the ship rocked gently on the waves.

Yes, and on Thanksgiving when my grandparents came to share the feast with us, and we moved the table into the living room, to accommodate the extra diners. We all ate and laughed and after supper, Grandad drew a caricature on the back of my hand using his brown felt tip pen. I marveled at my personal “tattoo” and all the while, that ship rocked gently on the waves.

Over the years wonderful times and horrific times have been played out in my living room. I prefer to remember the wonderful times. But it is with certainty I can say that, through it all, that ship, rocking gently on the waves, has held a steadfast course. I don’t know if anyone else ever connected with a particular painting, or if my connection with it is simply because of my love for the man who painted it, but I know I count on that painting being precisely where it is…in the living room of my home…for as long as I have memories to share.

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