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Roxanne Smolen

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Dear Gram
By Roxanne Smolen
Saturday, April 10, 2004

Rated "G" by the Author.

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Teach your children well, but watch them like a hawk.

Dear Gram,

Today, I made fudge candy.  It was your recipe, the way you taught me, and I had all the problems you used to have.  It turned out scorched and lumpy, a little hard around the edges.  I started to laugh but cried instead.  I miss you.

I miss holding your hand to cross the street, hearing your voice to calm my dreams in the night.  I even miss your remedies when I stayed home sick from school.  But, Gram, most of all, I miss your faith.

Remember the time I left Dave's bike outside the drugstore?  I was in such a hurry to spend my allowance.  When I came out, the bike was gone.  My heart still drops when I think of it.

I felt I was living on the fringes of the family.  They were so angry, everyone blaming everyone else.  Then I heard you say when you thought I couldn't hear, "A person makes mistakes, mistakes don't make a person.  Not Little Sis, and not whoever took that bike."

That morning, I made flyers from brown paper bags and passed them out door-to-door.  The next day, we saw the bike parked in the yard.  We never did find out who had taken it.

That was the first time I realized what faith meant.  It was more than a belief in me or in the family.  It was a total commitment to goodness itself, a knowing that everything would be all right.  And I wish you could be with me now because, Gram, I can't see the goodness anymore.

You never met my daughter.  She was born after you left this world.  She's bright and funny, just getting into that lanky stage with oversized teeth and rollerblade knees.  I recently began allowing her to walk to school by herself.  She was very proud of that, growing up so fast.

But yesterday as she walked, a man pulled up beside her.  He asked if she'd seen his lost puppy.  She approached his car, and he grabbed her wrist.

Gram, she's been warned about speaking to strangers.  How could she?  How could he?  I thank God a crossing guard saw the commotion.  I almost lost my little girl.

She's living on the fringes of the family now.  We're so angry, so afraid.  How can I trust her alone again?  How can I let her grow in such a world?

People have always said I have your eyes, but I don't have your wisdom.  I don't have your faith.  I wish I could hear your voice once more tonight, to sooth my nightmares.


Little Sis

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