Today it is hitting me a little harder that Perry is not here. The numbness is wearing off, although I still find myself standing confused in stores or at the house.
After my Grandfather died, Bryce Hatton, my Mom, Emily, Perry, and I watched home videos of him at my Mom's house. There was Grandpa and Grandma Peggy, young with small children. I marveled at their youth. In large clips, Grandpa is playing baseball. He is playing baseball with the men he works with in the Navy at some sort of function, and he is playing it in adult leagues.
Perry was propped upright in my lap and he is not complaining, watching the faded colors and people flickering across the screen. He has never seen his Grandpa in person, but with the miracles of film he is watching him now. I think he is wearing his new green sweater that his Grandma had just completed for him. The days are getting colder and she has finished it just in time.
My Grandpa died while I was pregnant with Perry, just around the last snow fall in Nebraska. Before he went, they called all of us in the family and we each made our way up to see him and say goodbye. That last visit, my Grandma Sharon wanted to make Perry a baby blanket,and Grandpa remarked that we could give them the envelope because Sharon wouldn't tell and he wouldn't be there a lot longer. He knew if it was a boy, he would be called Perry Bryce. At our last visit before we left town that day, I gave Sharon the envelope. I had already told him that although we didn't get to spend a lot of time together because my Dad was in the military, that I knew he loved me. That seemed to be what he needed to hear from me. My Mom didn't really seem to know what to say, but they talked about their time in Cuba and how happy they were then. We said goodbye, Grandpa wan't the type for a lot of fuss, and walked out the hospital bedroom door.
So now, watching the videos of him in Cuba, with my Mom as a bubbling curly blonde around 5 years old with gaps of missing teeth, we were quiet. I could see my Mom smiling at different points.
I always knew that Grandpa liked baseball, but it never hit me just how much until I saw this young man hitting the ball and running around bases furiously, his legs pumping. He seemed confident in himself. He slid easily, as if it were reflex.
I am not the most athletic, but at that moment, I thought if this man was my Grandfather, Perry just might have a shot. My husband doesn't play baseball, and my Lt. had once said that the best players always had a parent who practiced with them. That usually the ones who weren't as good, were sort of stuck there because parents thought they ought to, but no one could help at home. Well I didn't know how to play, and Chris didn't, but that same Lt. had tried to show me how to throw. I told myself when it came time I would learn how to, just so I could help him. And I figured that with enough guys like Lt. Hood and Steve Failor around the fire department, they would probably be more than willing to help brush up his techniques if he were really interested and we brought him down on shift.
I liked the thought. The idea of a game connecting men that were seperated by 3 generations was comforting. Two men that I loved.
Today we had a fire department flag football game and we came down on the rescue and engine to heckle. It allowed me to forget a bit. They were fairly good natured, although competitive about it, and some had brought their sons. As I watched them, I grew quiet. It burned to watch one of the firefighters playing with his dark haired son. I knew how much he loved him. I had seen them throwing baseballs together before.
After Perry died, the first dream my husband had was of Grandpa in his house in Nebraska. He was holding Perry on his lap. He looked at my son's face and said "He has Japanese eyes". My husband shook all this off, because he told me Grandpa wouldn't say that. But I know Grandpa did. He was of that generation, the one that categorized, even without malice. The generation that fought world war II. He was dying of lung cancer after years in damage control and shipyards, after cleaning up a radiation spill during his time in the military.
Grandpa had been so proud of his time in the military. He was a proud navy vet, a member of the legion. He loved the flag, even to the point of considering firebombing a hippie head shop that had a pair of pants made out of a flag in the window.
At one visit Grandpa had been studying me, and made the comment that in another generation you probably wouldn't be able to see the Japanese. He said that the shape of my eyes and my thick black eyelashes were just about all that remained. He told me they were 'mankiller' eyes.
Perry's eyes were blue like his Father, but the shape were mine. The dark black eyelashes that were almost too pretty for a little boy are mine as well.
I don't know, but when Emily says Grandpa is holding Perry in Heaven, she may be right.
I stold this from my cousin Tracy's blog. My Grandpa Bryce is in the back, and my Mom is the cutie to the left, the little blonde. Grandma Peggy is in the center, My Aunt Micky on the right and Aunt Kathy on Grandma's lap.
And this is Grandma, Emily, and Perry, I think on the day we watched the videos? With Perry's green sweater on. The guy was so tall, his tummy showed in a lot of his little outfits.