Final Chapter – Which Way Home?

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All of us carry scars and wounds
from the present and from the past.
Some damaged us, but some made us strong.

Some wear these marks on their sleeve.
Some hide them for reasons they may
or may not understand.
Some are stoic about them.

Eventually though, they catch up with us
and we must choose.
Do we continue to deny the wounds or,
do we embrace the pain,
the good and the bad of it,
and accept whatever that changes in us?

The problem seems to be fear of pain.
Pain is not always a bad thing.
More often,
the consequences of denying it are worse.

You deny a pain in your neck
and it shows up in your back.
You deny a pain in your heart
And it shows up in your life.

Walking in the rain
can wash you clean.
Walking through the pain
can set you free.
Which way is home?

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Someone I barely know gave me the following poem.
He said that he thought it might be meaningful to me.
It is entitled, My Father’s Wedding, by Robert Blye.


I am not sure how these connection happen.
I am not sure to whom or to what to say
… Thank you.

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MY FATHER’S WEDDING 1924

Today, lonely for my father, I saw
a log, or branch,
long, bent, ragged, bark gone.
I felt lonely for my father when I saw it.
It was the log
that lay near my uncle’s old milk wagon.

Some men live with a limp they don’t hide,
suffer, or drag
a leg, Their sons often are angry.
Only recently I thought
doing what you want …
is that like limping? Tracks often show in sand.

Have you seen those giant bird-men
of Bhutan?
Men in bird masks, with pig noses, dancing,
teeth like a dog’s, sometimes
dancing on one bad leg!
They do what they want, the dog’s teeth say that.

But I grew up without dog’s teeth,
showed a whole body,
left only clear tracks in sand.
I learned to walk swiftly, easily
no trace of a limp.
I even leaped a little. Guess where my defect is!

Then what? If a man, cautious, hides
his limp
somebody has to limp it. Things
do it, the surroundings limp.
House walls get scars,
the car breaks down; matter, in drudgery, take it up.

On my father’s wedding day
no one was there
to hold him. Noble loneliness
held him. Since he never asked for pity
his friends thought he
was whole. Walking alone he could carry it.

He came in limping. It was a simple
wedding, three
or four people. The man in black,
lifting the book, called for order
and the invisible bride
stepped forward, before his own bride.

He married the invisible bride, not his own.
In her left
breast she carried the three drops
that wound and kill. He already had
his bark-like skin then,
made rough especially to repel the sympathy
he longed for, didn’t need, and wouldn’t accept.
So the Bible’s
words are read. The man in black
speaks the sentence. When the service
is over. I hold him
in my arms for the first time and the last.

After that he was alone
and I was alone
few friends came: he invited few.
His two story house he turned
into a forest,
where both he and I are the hunters.

Robert Blye

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*
I had found the place of my father’s birth,
and my grandfather, grandmother
and great grand parents, all going back
perhaps 300 years.

The Napoli House

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I thought that my story was complete …

*

but then …

*

… my father died.

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________________________________________________________________________________________

I thought that my story was finished.
But I let it sit for almost a year.

I wasn’t sure why.
Then my father died.

On my way to his death bed,
I literally tripped over
the box of roof tiles
that I brought back from
the house where he was born.
Something motivated me to bring one with me.

*

*
As my father lay dying,
I placed the roof tile in his hands.
His last remaining function,
other than breathing,
was the ability to grip.
He gripped it.
Then his grip failed too.
The roof tile slipped from his hands.
I moved it to the shelf above his head.

 

*
His priest gave him last rights.
The death rattle
that had tried to dominate the room,
but couldn’t,
retreated deeper and deeper
into his body
from where it came.

His face wasn’t his anymore.
It was the face of dying.
But before it became the face of death,
he smiled.
A look more peaceful than I had ever seen on him
delivered him unto death.

I touched his forehead.
I touched his hair.
I touched his cheek.
I probably hadn’t done that since I was a child.

I felt his warmth,
the last evidence that he had been a living being.

I looked up.
I saw the roof tile.
and I realized
that he had died
under the same roof
where he had been born.

*

My story was finally complete.

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This is the end of my story.  Thank you for reading, “The Key to My Grandfather’s House.” Please read on for a few short “Afterthoughts then, please leave your candid comments using the form below. Or, you can …

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GO BACK OR FORWARD A CHAPTER …

 Chapter 1 -Finding the Key

Chapter 2 – Exploring the House

Chapter 3 – The House Goes Dark

Final Chapter, Which Way Home? 

 

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A FEW SHORT AFTERTHOUGHTS . . .


OLD SOULS, NEW SPIRITS


After my father died,
I gave the roof tile to my daughter.
The next spring,
she delivered the first great grandchild born
since my father’s death.
In March, Alena Caterina.arrived.

Alena,
was born under the same roof
where my father was born.

Caterina,
is the name of her great, great grandmother,
my father’s mother,
who was born under that same roof.

Alena Caterina
has a quiet spirit.
It is still early,
but when I look into her eyes
I see signs of a knowing old soul.

Foster,
son of my son,
is named for my father, Dulio Foster.
He was born before the roof tile appeared.
His eyes suggest a curious new spirit.

Whether they be
old souls, new spirits
or both,
their lives, like all life
comes from the past and present,
from the living and the dead.

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BLOG BROTHERS

Neither one of us notices the “moo” grafitti on the wall until the photo


My brother Doug accompanied me to Italy. You will find what the trip inspired in him in
Calabrian Journal,” his self described “idiosyncratic travelogue,” edited from his personal journal,  illustrated with his own photo visions.

MUCH MORE THAN ITALIAN – Doug’s journalist, blogger, explorer website and blog, www.HundredMountain.com, includes an entire section of other Italy inspired features, created since our trip.

But, at HundredMountain, you will find more than things  Italian.  The music of his GarageCow Ensemble, The Clemantines and other musical explorations are also  featured.

Scores of pages at HundredMountain, and now his new website WestVirginiaVille, examine everything worthy of exploration.

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SPECIAL THANKS …

 

… to Teresa and Loretta, Teresa and Vittorio,
all of the aunts, uncles and other relatives in Italy,
and to Peaches and Boo.


But, I am not so sure about this guy
who left me in Rome,

in a cheap hotel,

on my birthday,

alone.

*

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Copyright 2010 and 2011, by David Imbrogno and
CowGarage.com

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THANKS AGAIN

for reading, “The Key to My Grandfather’s House.”
Please leave your candid comments below, or …

*

GO BACK OR FORWARD A CHAPTER …

 Chapter 1 -Finding the Key

Chapter 2 – Exploring the House

Chapter 3 – The House Goes Dark

Final Chapter, Which Way Home? 

9 Comments

  1. Fascinating how the weaving of the threads of life create a beautiful portrait of our spirit. You have done a wonderful job of weaving. Thank you for sharing! M

  2. Comment

  3. Thank you so much for your kind comments. I am glad that you enjoyed the story.

  4. Thank you so much for so eloquently sharing your experiences and travel to Itay; and how you were drawn by the historical connections of your family; and the relatives who still live where you visited. You indeed are most fortunate to have and keep such deeply personal memories throughout the remainder of your life. All that you have written to share them with us means they will live on a very long time! May God Bless you.

  5. David, your story touched me very deeply.How blessed you are to have had this opportunity & re-live & re-connect with your family roots.The memento
    tile provides a connecting metaphor from generation to generation! Thanks for sharing! Rosalie & Dick

  6. Thank you Humberto for your comments on “The Key to my Grandfather’s House” story. Your own brief, but evocative words sound like another story waiting to emerge. If that ever happens, share it here.

  7. i know exactly how you felt returning to your grandfather’s house. i feel it ever time i return to my grandmother’s house in Silva Escura, Portugal. it is the sensual calling of the land that fed my family and sometimes broke their backs. it is the spiritual beauty of the place where my family toiled together for a better existence before leaving to find it on a different continent.

    you did a beautiful job evoking the feelings. bravo. H.

  8. David I am so proud to be your baby sister. My dream is still to get the chance to see our family history in Italy but if I never get that chance your photos and your writings got me very close. You are not only an excellent photographer but you write with such beauty. I miss Dad so much and it did make me cry to see to see those photos of him in his death bed but it also made me realize how lucky I was to have had the chance to be there at his bedside when he took that last breath and got to see that last smile. I look forward to reading Dougs blog too and I am it will be just as magnificant as this was.

  9. I don’t know what to say. This is so beautifully written. I laughed and cried. I wanted to comment on much of what you captured, but lost track of the many thoughts and emotions our story evoked — how fortunate to have this story about my brothers’ journey back to our roots and the soil from which our ancestors were nourished, and depleted. Recently I attended the funeral of a co-worker – about my age. As his friend sang from somewhere deep in his heart, I realized that art (whether music, stories, poetry, paintings, dance, photographs….) is maybe the most expressive way we are able to express that which is inexpressible. Art is a solitary, yet shared journey for those willing or able to create or be touched by it. Your story captures both the journey by plane, trains, and cows, but also the internal journey through the deeply artistic probing. To read your story, I stopped and took a break from reading meaningless documents that financially support me. It was a needed break. And, I’m also inspired to stop and read Dougaley’s blog for his version of the journey. Not to find the time, but to make the time to move, even temporarily, from the lifeless, but necessary efforts to those pursuits that nourish the soul. I’m grateful to both of you for capturing our intriguing past, linking it to our present, and eventually shaping our future. So much to say … I’m glad this is not limited to 140 characters, like Facebook.

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