I visited a friend of mine this past Saturday, whom I had not seen in over 20 years. We were in high school and at college together. She lives about an hour and a half west and north of here. When I left my friend’s house on Saturday, I was feeling nostalgic. No surprises there. I took the Hwy 127 exit off of I40 and decided to go home by way of my childhood. I guess I covered 37 miles of Lincoln County, starting near Vale and ending at the McGuire dam. I stopped and took photographs along the way.
One of the places I stopped was the house near Vale where my Pappaw Punch lived. I am writing a poem about what I saw there, how it made me feel. As I think about him – about all my grandparents, really – it makes me even more embarrassed about the assumptions I find myself making about others. I, of all people, really should know better.
My mother’s father was a trenchant observer of people; he was wise, and he was gentle. I loved him and he loved me. I wish I were more like him. I wish I had bought him some Moravian cookies in Old Salem when I was in law school at Wake Forest, and taken them to him. As far as I can recall, that is the only thing he ever asked me to do for him, and I didn’t do it, but he didn’t hold that against me. He just loved me. Continue reading “The Smartest Man I’ve Ever Known”