If one of your late ancestors were to come back from the dead and join you for dinner, what things about your family would this person find the most shocking?
If my family had the chance to come back from the dead, I doubt if any of them would want to hang around the dinner table and bond with their living relatives.
You’ve never met a bigger collection of people who loved to tell ghost stories at the drop of a hat. They told them at holiday gatherings, when we were waiting for around waiting babies to be born at the hospital, when we were in the check out line at the grocery store.
In other words, if there was more then one of us, somebody was going to start of with, ” I heard something really strange a few days ago…”
My Mom and Dad’s family are full of storytellers, next to musicians anyone who could tell a story was guaranteed an enthusiastic audience.
Let’s just say one of them showed up at dinner time and went looking for me- let’s say it was my Grandfather Cyrpriano.
I think he’d be surprised to find me outside at dusk, sitting on my porch steps with my dog and cats.
I wouldn’t have the radio on, no phone near me, no book, no distractions.
I’d be looking up into the sky, or into the trees and I’d be listening for an ocean that is far away from where I am now.
” What are you doing out here? How old are you now anyway? ” He would laugh. “Looking for ghosts Anita?”
” Fifty-one and I find ghosts all the time. I’m a writer now.”
” Woo, that’s old!” He’d laugh again.
My Grandfather was either laughing or smiling all of the time.
” Writing? That’s good.”
He would be pleased to hear I came a storyteller.
” I remember when we were afraid you’d never talk. You would look at us like this, ” he tilted his chin down and rolled his eyes up and snarled a little.
” I did NOT do that instead of talking.”
” Yeah you did.” He’d sit next to me, stretch legs out, smile and lift his face to the sky. ” You looked like a Baby Monster. Bet you don’t tell that name to anybody.”
” I write about it now. It’s actually kind of cool.”
My Grandfather doesn’t look surprised.
” Why aren’t you inside, isn’t it dinner time?” he asks.
” Plenty of time to eat. Anyway. I don’t like to eat dinner before it gets dark.”
” Besides, this is the time when we used to talk story Apo.” I would say with years of him not be alive echoing in my voice. ” This was my favorite part of the day. Waiting on the porch for you to come home from the canefields. Then you’d get cleaned up and you’d come outside and we would all sit on the porch and talk story until the sun went down and then we’d eat. It was a very magical time. Do you know that?”
He would smile.
“The doors would be open and the cousins would be here and the Uncles. Why did I need to talk anyway? I couldn’t take in enough of your voices. I didn’t want to miss a word.”
” That face…”
” You liked it.” I laughed.
” Yeah. Yeah I did.”
” I can be with a hundred people, and at this time everyday …” I look over at him ” I go back to Honokaa”
” That’s sad, to be so far away from where you are and out here alone.”
I look over at his face that always has a smile on it somewhere.
” This time of the day, I’m never alone.”