My First Memories Of Talking With My Grandfather, Poppy

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I was 5 years old when I had one of my first memories of talking with my grandfather, Poppy. He and I were sitting on the front porch of his 61-year-old suburban Kansas home, simply taking in the cool summer evening. No words were spoken and a calm air surrounded us. I remember looking out, beyond the neighboring houses, and being amazed at the scenery. The slowly sinking sun set the sky ablaze, making it seem as though the mixture of pale, white clouds and vibrant oranges were a painting on a canvas.
Every once in a while, a puff of cigarette vapors would trail out of Poppy’s nose and mouth, as if he were hoping to add to the clouds above. Every time he exhaled, he would turn his head to avoid sharing the second hand smoke, but the …show more content…

Can you do that for me?” I nodded, somewhat bored by the same promise he would always have his grandchildren make. Although he smoked like a chimney ever since the age of twelve, he was always an advocate against the act.
Poppy cleared his throat and began again, “You also need to promise me that you’ll always remember your family loves you. There never should be a time where you feel alone in the world. Swear you won’t let yourself forget?”
At this, I looked up at him. With a stern look from his caring face, Poppy attempted to show how seriously he wanted me to take his words. Then again, I was five, and it was past my bedtime.
“Well of course I’ll remember that, Poppy,” I yawned as I began to sprawl out on the porch swing, “I’ll always have you around.”
Five years later, my parents and I were home in Indiana, spending a casual Thursday evening in a comfortable silence. All of us were working on our separate tasks when my mom’s cellphone began buzzing next to her. She answered the phone with a comforted expression already on her face.
“Hi, Kathy!” she called, her voice cheery as she addressed her younger sister. As soon as those words left my mom’s mouth, a rapid-fire trail of shaky panic came booming off the other end of the line. Conversation was typically easy; a shooting the breeze sort of talk, but this was much different. The usual laughter was nowhere to be found and my mother was holding her breath. As the

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