Friday, May 18, 2012

Precious Memories and the Smiles of Our Forebears

It all started with the wrench over there. It's one I inherited from my Dad, as he'd inherited it from my Mom's Father in 1951. I presume my Granddad got it new, and may have even used it back when he worked at the Duesenberg plant in Indianapolis, nearly 100 years ago.

If there is such a thing as an unbreakable wrench, I'm pretty sure that's it.

I was using it to do a little plumbing today; specifically to loosen the large retaining nut on the end of the water pressure regulator on our domestic supply line for our home. I've got a lot of newer wrenches in my tool box(es) I could have picked, but when I saw Grandpa Tanner's old Trimo sitting there, I just grabbed it and decided toput it to use after all these years.

I don't remember a whole lot about Grandpa and Grandma Tanner. They lived in Indianapolis and we lived in Chicago. We have a couple Aunts and Uncles plus Cousins in Indy, so we'd visit them and the Grandparent once or twice a year, but that's not a lot when you're a kid. And kids are not really into sitting and getting to know grandparents; getting to know them  as people. But one thing I really do recall  is sitting in front of their pot-bellied stove, in their little rented duplex, reading Craftsman Tool Catalogs. Tools just always interested me, Granddad always had a stack of catalogs there, that he'd let me read.

During the time I knew him .. he died when I was about 13 .. he wasn't in good health. He had a bad heart, and he mostly stayed home, The only job I recall his ever having was custodian at Victory Memorial Methodist Church in Indianapolis.

Grandma Tanner, on the other hand, was the perfect picture of a Conestoga-wagon-ridin' frontier-bound homestead wife. She just looked like one, and I can't explain it beyond that. She was also a bookkeeper at Lane Bryant Company, which in itself is ironic. They make plus-sized clothing, and she was thin as a rail.

I think she had to run around in a shower stall, to get wet.

Anyway, those memories came flooding in when I picked up that wrench, today. I wondered if Grandpa would be happy if he was aware that I'd chosen to use that old wrench of his, instead of the new chrome-plated lifetime-warrantied computer-designed wonders from my toolbox. That the wrench had brought fond memories of him, and of a happy childhood, when I picked it up.

Thinking of it from a Spiritual standpoint, I'd hope he'd find some pleasure in the fact that his presence on earth still had meaning, echoing across my mind decades later, as I picked up a century-old Trimo wrench and silently thanked my Grandpa .. and my Father .. for having passed a carefully old crafted hunk of steel along to me.

The other picture is a Bible (obviously). It belonged to Grandma Tanner; from what I can glean from reading the entries Grandma wrote in it, he gave it to her as a wedding present, close to the turn of the 20th century. One of the first family entries is that recording the birth, and subsequent death at 20 days, of their firstborn son Virgil Lowell Tanner.

Our younger son Brad has developed an extensive family tree over the last couple of years. We gave him all the information out of Grandma's bible when he started up, and he's done an absolutely amazing job since that time, with online ancestry resources, even to the point of finding ship's registries, immigration papers, census forms from several centuries, all  via the internet. But some of it came from Grandma Tanner's careful cursive handwriting in the old KJV that was simply inscribed:

Viola R
 from 
 James M.

Perhaps Grandma might be aware that the old bible that her husband had given her so long, long ago had served a useful purpose in a distant century. And maybe it brings a smile to her grandmotherly face, and a bit of thankfulness that she'd taken good care of it so long ago.


As I contemplate our lives today, and presuming the Lord doesn't return in the next century or so, I'm wondering if our descendants in distant centuries will  look back and have similar thoughts, and maybe some of the same sort of fond memories, about us. And perhaps we'll look across eternity, and be glad for some of the things we'd done here, and see what God had done with the earthly rubble we'd left in our wake.

Perhaps the most intriguing thought, for me, though, is this: what would Paul, feel when he sees a young couple read through 1 Corinthians, adopt its mandates into their family, and heal their broken home? Or how David might feel when he sees a family take comfort in in David's promise of the comforting presence of the Lord in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, as I did in the most real way I have ever seen in a family standing and looking at their teenage son and brother who'd just shot himself in the head. 

I'd bet Peter would feel pretty good if he saw a young wife who'd kept a calm and  peaceful spirit, and a submissive attitude toward her husband, who was then won to the Lord without words. 

I bet when we submit ourselves to the Word of God and live lives which set the stage for God to do those things for which we're so thankful, we bring smiles to the faces of all those whose labor of love and obedience brought us the Word of God today.

We've inherited the tools, the Word, and the opportunity. 

Let us set our sights on things worthy of remembrance.  

2 Comments:

At 2:05 PM, May 19, 2012, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leaving a legacy behind is what we all want to do. But, the greatest fear that I have is, after I'm dead and gone, someone says "I didn't know he was a Christian".

 
At 2:50 PM, May 19, 2012, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Easiest thing in the world that I have ever done (and I'm a shy person, by nature): next time you eat out, tell your server "We're (or I'm) going to bless the food; is there anything that I can pray for, for you?" They're strangers, it's inoffensive, and they'll appreciate it. And you're not "telling them something". The results have been amazing. That has led to more things that I would ever have believed.

I also just wear a little pin that says "Jesus" or some such thing on it whenever I'm out.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

 

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