Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


When I was very, very small, my grandfather would hold up his watch. Hear it? He’d say. Hear the tick tick tick?

He was born on this day in 1889. And when my own son was born in 1989, I was proud to hold up that same watch that I’d wound for just that purpose.

My grandfather had several gifts to give: the wisdom to know what to pass along, the inclination to pass it, and the talent to do it well. He was a former teacher who knew that life is a lesson and a game, both, and he possessed the divine sense to give these gifts to any child who would take them. He died when I was too young yet to thank him, so I try hard to pass along what I remember and hope it is thanks enough.

Now I look at my son who is studying to be a teacher. Born 100 years after his great grandfather. Learning to be a real man in his own right, nurtured by teachers, coaches, his girlfriend’s father who is both. Hear the watch, my son?

I believe he did. He heard.

And only now do I know. That tick tick tick was the sound of immortality.

Children are the only form of immortality that we can be sure of. ~Peter Ustinov


  1. A lovely post, Tammy. Your son certainly heard the ticking of immortality.

  2. I only truly understood this lesson after my Papa died. This is truly beautiful.

  3. Okay I was doing good, right up to that last tick, tick, tick and the my eyes leaked a bit. Isn't it a treasure to look back and what is yet to come, all in a new form?!

    PS In case I did not express it well... I LOVED THIS!
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  4. Beautiful post, Tammy. My eyes leaked a little, too!

    Too bad that the leaders in Washington don't understand what that quote can mean for our nation. Our children will be the next leaders of our country, but that leadership won't mean much without a good education.

  5. No laughing this time, but a few tears shed at this beautiful tribute. You are blessed.

  6. Terrific tribute to your grandfather, and a wise lesson he imparted. Well said.

  7. A wonderful tribute. They live on in our memories. My son was named after his great-grandfather, a hardworking lead miner. He has a mother-of-pearl pocket knife to pass down through future generations.

  8. Such a sweet post, Tammy. I'm sure your grandfather is watching over all of you with pride.


  9. Wonderful. It amazes me how you can write such a lovely story in such a short space. You have a gift--just like your grandfather.

  10. OH, this is a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing. And kudos to you for passing it on to your own children...beautiful.


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