Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The Street Sweeper

Grandpa Was a Street Sweeper

 As a child visiting my grandparent’s home I would rise early from my bed and tip toe from the room that I shared with Aunt Marlene.  With the stealth of a child I would move through the large living/dining room and peak around the corner into the kitchen.

“Good morning Marjorie will you join me for breakfast?” 

Grandpa would be standing at the white gas stove, browning the butter for his morning eggs in a cast iron frying pan.

At the invitation to join him I moved with confidence to the small kitchen table positioned beside the stove, sitting down quietly and with great anticipation of the stories to come.

Grandpa was a street sweeper.  He rose early each morning before the dawn and ensured that the city streets were well swept of dirt in the summer and snow in the winter.  On these early morning adventures of mine he would tell me stories the things he would see while the rest of us slept.

“Did you know Marjorie that under the front porch of…there is a family of raccoons and they are just getting reading to go to bed when I drive by…”

Grandpa was a quiet man in group and when alone with me he would open up telling me stories and making feel as though he had all the time in the world to spend with me.

“Well Marjorie, Grandma will be upset with me if you don’t get some more sleep…” and with this proclamation I knew that my time with Grandpa was quickly coming to an end.

With this he would pick me up, kiss my forehead and snuggle my neck.  It was not to my bed that he would carry me, no he would lay me on his side of the bed beside Grandma and with a kiss for Grandma off to work he would go.

Years later at his funeral people we did not know came to say goodbye to Grandpa.   

An elderly woman when up to the casket and with tears in her eyes went over to my father.  As she held his hand she told how many years previously she has stumbled taking out her garbage just as the street sweeper went by.  How Grandpa stopped and helped her up and gathered up the garbage that had fallen out of the can.  How from that week on Grandpa stopped his street sweeper and would take out her garbage.  She knew something was wrong when for three weeks the street sweeper went by but her garbage remained beside the house.  How she called the city yards asking if there had been a change and she was told the Street Sweeper had passed away.

My Grandpa John had a calling as proud and noble as any I know he was street sweeper.

Grandma Snyder
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