The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

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Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Good Reason To Still Believe In Love

This is a picture of my cousin Wes and I (I'm am the one on the right) with my Grandmother (Granny Benson) at our baptism.

My grandmother was an amazing woman. Probably a lot more amazing than I will ever know. She died almost 14 years ago, and since I am 28, that means for the last half of my life she has been gone. And though she only knew me in my younger years, her last few years I was an awkward, self-absorbed, and just plain weird kid, she was (and is still) a lot of things to me. She is the reason why I still recite the Lord's Prayer everyday. Once, she found out that I didn't know the Lord's Prayer and she made me learn it. She was one of the many instruments of my faith. She is the reason why I don't smoke. But her story, at least the love story of her later years, is the reason why I will always believe in love.

My grandfather, James, died before I was born. I never knew him. All I know of him are the stories my father tells me of "Pop." My father will every now and again laugh and tell me one of the stories of his father. I think it is to keep a bit of his memory alive, and I think he succeeds too.

I don't know the story behind how Pop met Granny. I am sure it is pretty interesting though, if anyone still remembers it.

No, the he greatest love story I have even known started off like a cliche.

Oswald, who everyone called Poss, was sitting at the bar drinking a beer at the Henderson, Ky. Moose Lodge. When a group of three came in, he scooted down so one bar stool and my grandmother sat down next to him. Henderson is such small town that Poss knew her as an old classmate's sister. He struck up a conversation. A conversation that went on for a few years. He struck up a conversation that lasted until one day when she ended the conversation sitting in her bed and he was by her side.

I first became aware of Poss one day when my dad and I were getting our hair cut at old Don Burris' Barbershop. Don was a member of the Moose Lodge as well. I was drinking a bottle of RC cola when Don asked my dad about Granny and Poss. I remember looking up at my dad. After Dad was done getting his hair cut, we walked outside to the truck. I asked him who Poss was, and he replied that he was Granny's boyfriend. At that point, and even still, it didn't strike me was weird that my grandmother had a boyfriend.

I think it was one of those things that wasn't really announced at first, but steadily Poss became a part of our lives. I don't remember the first time I met Poss, the funny man who walked with a limp from a childhood bout with polio. He talked very slow and very deliberately. He talked a little bit funny. He pronounced "reached" more like "wreatched." He used to call people "cats" and never once sounded absurd.

The back story on him was quite interesting. He was bit of a shady character around Henderson in his younger days. He owned a few gambling joints. He sold illegal fireworks. No telling what else. One Henderson minister called Poss "the sin mongrel of Henderson County." He had been married a few times, and when I saw few I mean around 7 times or so, though a few of them were "double lappers" as he called them.

My grandmother eventually moved in with Poss. We were all happy for her and Poss. I think my father was concerned a bit. It was odd that his mother had moved in with another man. I don't think it bother him because he didn't like Poss, I think he just thought it set a bad example for us kids. He has told me a story a time or too about sitting down with Granny and she explained her relationship with Poss a little bit more than my father would have liked. I don't remember the rest of the good times, I don't even remember how long those good times were or if they were really that good. All I know is that they were the times before the rough times.

I don't think I can even remember when I found out Granny had lung cancer.

But I remember Poss taking care of Granny. How she went into the hospital for the last time. They put her up on the top floor, the floor that people went who would never ride back down to the ground level alive. There was the day Poss married Granny as she lie upright in a bed on that top floor. I remember the fact that it was a good thing that the hospital was in Indiana when they got married because Poss had reached his legal limit of wives. How he would drive over every morning to stay with her and leave her every night. I remember how we would walk down to the cafeteria and talk about baseball when my dad wanted to talk with his mom alone. I remember sometimes we would go down to the chapel so we could kneel and pray for her. I remember the wrinkle in his nose as he grinned when I told him he was the first and only grandfather that I had ever had.

Her death was hard on us all. We all knew when the end was almost there. Her funeral was tough, it was at the same church the picture above was taken.

She was wonderful. I never really appreciated how wonderful she was then, when she was still alive. Sometimes it makes me sad to think that my lasting memories of her are when she was in the bed on that top floor. But a few years ago, I went back and visited old Poss. I asked him about Granny. He told me stories about her. He loved her cooking. She was a great cook. He told me about how well she took care of him. He drove me down to the cemetery in his Caddy. We stopped at the rose red stone with her name on it and the date she died. His name was already on the stone too, the only thing missing was the last date. He broke down that day and cried, I cried too. He told me that he would never get married again, that he had found the greatest love of his life. It was then that I realized that I may go 80 some odd years in my life only to find the one love that I have been searching and searching for all the years. But if that is what it takes, so be it. Because in Poss' tears I could tell that it was worth it.

I don't know if any of this made any sense to anyone. I hope it did. I just hope people remember to celebrate old love just as much as the young love. Some people call it companionship. I don't know, maybe they are right. But I think companionship can be just as strong as love.


Blogger RockinMominAr said...

Lafe - what a great story. Thank you for sharing it. And yes - that is a GREAT reason to still believe in love!

12:12 PM  
Blogger Shelli said...

I am just LOVING these old pictures.

12:19 PM  
Blogger jlo said...

Good story Lafe. I am about to order you an extra lager bag of Butterscotch for the trip. Can't wait. Will you be the foreman for the work crew?

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What strikes me as absurd is I got one helluva cousin I don't keep near enough in touch with. Your a good man and one I'd like to know a lot better. This is a great thing you've done...beautiful, Wes

11:59 PM  

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