Soaking up the Wisdom This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

October 20, 2009
By , Culver, IN
“Franklin, wake up, get dressed and come down stairs. Your father and I must talk with you.” Disappointment in my mother’s voice tormented me. What did I do this time? Curiosity overpowered my bare toes protests against touching the cool familiar stone floor. My father’s cooking shot a scent through the house- guiding me downstairs undisturbed by the old floorboards creaking and moaning under my weight. I wracked my brain for the reason my parents called this unwelcoming meeting. All thoughts pushed aside when my two little rascal sisters bombarded me with hugs as I entered the kitchen.
“Get…” I started but the innocence and excitement shining on their faces silenced me.
“Good you’re up.” a long pause followed my father’s words- radiating an unpleasant wave through the room. The suspense killed me; I wanted to scream “WHAT DO YOU WANT” but decided I rather not.
“Your mother and I have some bad news…” my father shuttered.

“No one died; everyone’s ok, right?” I begged

“Sit down son…” he paused, took a deep rattling breath and forced out the deadly words: “Uncle Ernie passed away last night.” His words struck me with a gut-wrenching blow. Tears filled into me- overflowed- and leaked through my eyes. Mixed emotions: denial, sadness, anger and guilt electrocuted through me. I collapsed in the closest chair for what seemed like years. Echoing through my hearts sudden hole, the sad tone bird song calmed me- settling the unpleasant emotions. The look on my father’s face shattered any hope for comfort. The thought, ‘my father’s the toughest person I know; he must tell me everything’s ok,’ ceased me. But my uncle’s death penetrated through him easier than a bullet.
“How could he have died; who will give grace on Thanksgiving or Christmas?” I pleaded. Ernie’s calming words always locked our family hands. My father shrugged- turned around and wipe his eyes free from tears. Realizing I would never hear Ernie’s words again traumatized me. The thought, ‘I’m an idiot; I shouldn’t have taken him for granted,’ repeatedly ran through my head. How could anyone get over this?

Today, I wonder whether God plans it all out. The message gained from Ernie’s death changed me forever. I changed first because I felt terribly alone; but now nothing satisfies me more than listening to my elders sharing stories from their past. I find myself seeking out any opportunity for spending time with my family. Ernie’s death changed my whole perspective on life. Before, I strongly believed: “They’re holding me back; I can figure it out on my own.” Ernie’s death guided me to the light. Elders are a gift for the young from God. Listening when they speak teaches you an unimaginable amount. They wouldn’t be here today if they didn’t do something right. Don’t take them for granted like I did; they will be gone before you know. Soak up the wisdom bonded with their life long memories. They define a person; overtaking them with an eerie- kind- majestic feeling. Those stories, passed from generation to generation, your uncles tell when they get together symbolize priceless amounts of wisdoms you’ll never gain from history books. They bring out the personality in history. They are the footprint of our past and the gateway to the future.

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Urbs2013 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 11, 2009 at 8:26 pm
Amazing story, is it true? and very well written
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