RIP Benedict Sloboda 1919 – 2008

You were a tough old man and I used to be terrified of you.  I thought that you were mean and grumpy and just all around not nice.  But I still loved you. 

I loved watching you work with your hands making things out of wood, fixing cars and plumbing and anything else that needed a mending.  I remember once you going down in the crawl space underneath my house to work on some pipes.  The crawl space was wet and dark and rather scary for a little kid but you needed somebody to hold the flashlight for you and that somebody was me.  And while my imagination could make up all sorts of monsters to lurk just out of sight in the shadows I knew that I would be safe beause you were down there.

I remember going to stay with you and Grammy for a for a couple of days one summer when I was little.  I missed my mom and dad and wanted to go home but you came and sat with me and showed me a book of trains and made me feel better.  During those days we walked in the woods and by the brook and pond.  I drew pictures of the things I saw and you told me all about the animals that could be seen around the farm.

Years ago you climbed up one of the pyramids, you saw much of the world, you worked on trains.  In your last years you couldn’t even walk up the stairs in your own house.  I am sure for you this was the most horrible thing that could happen, to go from being such a strong and brave and powerful figure to one who was fragile and weak.  But you didn’t let this stop you.   You never wanted to be put into a retirement home and you never were.  You stayed on your farm until the end.

I never gave your maps back to you.  I’m sorry for that.  I thought it was stupid that you’d wanted them back, they were just National Geogrpahic maps.  But maybe it wasn’t stupid at all.  Maybe you were trying to tell me something that one can only understand in age.  That things slip away and to let too much slip is to give up.  You never did give up though and so I don’t think that you were ever as frail and weak as the doctors said you were.

They say you went quickly and painlessly.  For that I am glad.  A man like you should not have to suffer anymore than necessary.  My only reget is that I didn’t get to say one last goodbye.  That is the way of the world I suppose.  So I’ll say it now.

Goodbye Grampy, I love you, and will always keep you in my memory.

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~ by Nathaniel on May 17, 2008.

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