The cool Sunday morning air was filled with the smells of an early spring. Everything was, putting out. “Putting out,” was my grandfather’s way of saying blooming.
As we rolled along the back country road on our way to church I did the driving and my grandpa fiddled around with the blower vents which were aimed at him. Miles of new green and color passed by outside out open windows. After a while of this, my grandpa made me turn off the air conditioner and “Let in some fresh air.”
All along our way wisteria of the softest lavender dangled like grapes from tall trees which cast shade over azaleas and honeysuckle, alive with color and fragrance. Meanwhile, my GPS kept us company spouting out instructions over the country church service coming from the radio.
“It’s called a GPS it told my grandpa when he asked about the voice and the map which spread itself out on the screen in my dashboard. “Global Positioning System,” I went on to explain giving him a quick lesson on what I knew about how it worked. “No matter where you want to go, all you have to do is punch in the address and it will show you the way, and best of all you will never be lost,” I added with prideful excitement. He smiled humming along the sound of a gospel song about, “Grace” now playing on the car radio.
Just as my mother told me, he wanted to stop by the cemetery and visit my grandmother’s grave on the way to service. It was she, who usually took him to church. This morning she asked me if I would. Church wasn’t really my thing back then.
“He won’t take long,” she promised, to put fresh cut flowers from grandma’s rose bushes in the little vase beside her grave and take away the old ones. I walked with him, like she said she always did, just to be safe and to give him someone to hug if tears came. They did and it was good that I was there.
Back in the car he asked me about my GPS again and if it could really tell me how to get anywhere I typed in on its little keyboard which he looked a little intimidated by as he sat there thinking.
“Yes sir,” I told him and invited him to type in any destination and promising him it would give him direction and draw him a map.
Then with slow and deliberate motions that only grandfather’s have his thin little finger reached out to the keyboard and with a little hunting typed in, “H”,”E”,”A”,”V”,”E”,”N,”.
We both watched as, “Address Unavailable,” appeared on the screen and the voice suggested we try another destination.
‘But it’s not a real place,” I remember thinking as I sat in silence watching my grandfather’s expression. He could see my confusion as he took my hand in his. With eyes still damp from graveside tears he handed me his Bible and told me he would like for me to have it. Then after a while wiping away a new batch of tears, he squeezed my hand again as I listened to his tired sweet voice.
“GPS, God’s Plan of Salvation, it’s all right here in this book,” he said lips drawing thin and eyes serious as he opened up the old book I had seen him reading for years. With his to a verse he had underlined and more than once which began, “For God so loved the world….”
Everything about that morning stayed with me and will forever and how my grandfather showed how to find my way to Heaven and not be lost.
I pray that God keeps making grandfathers like mine.
This is a work of fiction dedicated to those through who God shows us the way.
Edward Reed 2019