A Man of the Earth  

Posted by Brock Booher

I recently wrote this small segment as an exercise and wanted to share it. It expresses my personal perceptions of my Grampy, Charles Talley.

A Man of the Earth

I can still remember the smell of the tall green grass as I crawled through the field behind my Grampy’s house. My older brother and I would spend hours stealing through the pasture as we hunted each other with “guns” made from tobacco sticks. They were memorable days, but not as memorable as my Grampy himself.

“You boys put your guns away and come in for dinner,” said Grampy as we crawled out of our own private jungle. He spoke with a deep baritone voice that didn’t match his small frame and seemed to reverberate right through us. It was like hearing the horn of a large truck come from a small car, or the foghorn of a large cruise ship singing out from a tugboat.

I never heard him raise his voice, but then again, he didn’t have to. His voice was accustomed to being obeyed, and willed you to do as he commanded without changing in volume. Its rich, solid tones penetrated you clear to the bone, and took away your will to do anything other than what he directed.

In spite of his commanding voice, he was terse and chose his words carefully. He would engage in deep conversation by listening intently, and then speak a few carefully thought out sentences of substance.

A man of the earth, most summer afternoons you could find Grampy in his beautiful garden tending to the soil and nurturing his tomato plants, green beans, and corn. He loved to make things grow, and would carry the smell of freshly turned soil to the dinner table.

His face was often expressionless, except the eyes. His misty hazel eyes seemed to penetrate and look deep into a problem or a person. They also carried a slight measure of sadness, deposited there by the many hardships he had faced.

He had contracted typhoid fever as a child, and the disease had hindered his growth, leaving him shorter than most men and of small build. He had a slight, almost imperceptible limp or shuffle that resulted from the disease, but his size only disguised his strength and quickness. When we playfully challenged him we would feel his vice-like hands clamping down on a shoulder, or feel the playful slap of his soft palm across our cheek. We would laugh as he utterly manhandled us and gave a resonating chuckle of delight.

Charles Talley, my Grampy, was a rock. He courageously faced the adversities of life without asking for quarter. Even as I stood watching him on his deathbed, I sensed that he was a man of substance, not easily swayed by the winds of calamity. In my mind, I could hear his strong baritone voice calling me to dinner, and smell the green grass and soft moist soil.

This entry was posted on Friday, April 16, 2010 at Friday, April 16, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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