When I was young my parents were very poor. They both worked hard to support the family. When my father passed away from cancer, my mom's life was harder than ever before. After my mom lost her job at the drugstore, she decided to take my sister and me to the countryside to live with my grandfather so that she did not have to worry about taking care of us, finding a new job, and working all at the same time.
Since my grandpa came to visit my family every year, I never had a chance to go to my grandpa's house. This was the first time I had gone such a long way from home. My grandfather lived in a small town in a rural area of the state. His house was surrounded by corn fields and was located along a small river. In the dry season, a person can wade across the river with the water coming up only to one's chest in the deepest part. My grandfather's house was at one end of the town, a long way down a narrow road. It was located far away from the traffic and lights, but surrounded by shadows and rustling trees. It was fenced off by many rows of large oak trees. The ancient roof was patched with pieces of tin and the walls were covered with faded wallpaper. In the bedroom, two old beds were set on either side of the room. There was very little furniture in the main room: a large wooden chest, a table and four chairs, and three figurines--the sole decorations in the house. I liked the figurine of the old Ship Captain with his black beard, chubby cheeks, pipe, and stout healthy body. His eyes seemed to speak and to look out for our family. In every way, both his physical appearance and individual characteristics seemed to represent my grandpa.
One of the fondest memories I have of my grandpa was when he woke me up early in the morning to get ready for school. Almost every morning, grandpa had to wake me. On those mornings, I would lie snuggled under the warmth of my blanket, dreaming a little girl's dream. As I wandered through dreamland, I was pulled to reality by the most gentle kiss on my forehead. I awoke to the sight of my grandpa's soft eyes and warm smile. He pushed my hair away from my face and told me, "It's time to wake up, sweetheart." He had developed an art of waking his sleepyhead grandchild. Although I knew I was not the only girl to wake up by a kiss from grandpa, he made me feel like the most special little girl in the entire world. Because of those few seconds, I would always remember my grandpa as the most gentle and loving grandfather.
Like most grandparents or parents in the neighborhood, my grandpa woke up before the sun came peeking over the horizon. He sometimes left the light on in the main room so that when I woke up I did not feel fear of the dark. However, I still hollered for my grandpa. Like clockwork, my grandpa would come rushing down to the room to get me. My fears quickly disappeared just as soon as I saw grandpa at the door.
As I remembered, one time grandpa took my sister and me to a church. The old...