Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Those Sweet Reynolds Men

When I married Mick, his grandfather, Maurie, toasted us at our wedding. He told the story of how he and his wife Kay had met me in Juneau, Alaska, when they were up on an Elderhostel cruise. When they'd got into port they'd called Mick and asked him to meet up with them at the Baranof Hotel for drinks (gin and tonics - without the tonic, ew!) and a game of cards. On the phone, Mick asked if he could bring a friend and Maurie had said, "Sure, bring him along." We all had a good laugh as Maurie recounted his surprise at meeting me that night instead of some buddy of Mick's. So, in the dark of the Baranof Bar, with lots of laughter and some serious competitiveness, the four of us played a raucous game of 3-13 and I was smitten with Mick and his grandparents. I hadn't met anyone else from Mick's family yet, so they were my first introduction to the Reynolds clan, and they've all been wonderful since. Needless to say, then, when Maurie lovingly told me on our wedding night, "Anjie, you don't just marry a man, you marry his family," I couldn't believe how sweet he was and how lucky that was for me.

Mick captured my heart a couple weeks later that summer in Juneau when we were carpooling to work. It happened to be the first day of school and we'd stopped for a bus picking up kids. A dad was standing there with his little girl, straightening her coat and sending her up the bus's steps. I looked over at Mick and he had glistening tears in those sweet brown eyes and his shoulders shook a little when he smiled at me.

And then there's Mike. Grandad. He's the reason I started this little post today. He's done lots of things since I met him that have endeared him to me - like pinning his grandkids' names to his chest on Valentine's Day for an e-photo (see picture at right) - but this weekend he was pure honey. He brought his guitar down for Thanksgiving and worked with each of his grandchildren, his "treasures," as he calls them, teaching them the old song, "All Through the Night." Thanksgiving evening, then, he gathered everyone around for the kids to sing - in all kinds of keys, which had its own charm, of course - for everybody. They sang three verses. Here's the first:

Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night;
Soft the drowsy hours are creeping,
Hill and vale in slumber sleeping,
I my loved ones' watch am keeping,
All through the night.

Talk about heart-melting. And when they'd finished, he obliged them when they wanted to wrap it up with their big-time favorite he taught them, "The Cat Came Back," and its many crazy verses. It was about the sweetest thing you've ever seen.

Ah, my littlest honey boy. I read him and Aubrey a book the other night called "The Shoebox." It's a Christmas story about a sad little boy who finds love in foster care after months of silence and pain. At the turning point in the story, when the boy lays before the manger his shoebox - filled with representations of anything that has mattered to him since he entered foster care - I looked over at Dane to find his face red and his eyes watery. Sensing he was about to cry, I asked, "Is this story moving you, Dane?" and he nodded his head and sucked in a shuddering breath as his face got redder. Then he just let loose and let out a cry. I pulled him to me as he cried and took more deep shuddering breaths, trying to get back his control. We stayed that way for a while, talking about sadness and hope and how every kid deserves a home where they feel safe and loved. Later that night, Dane brought up the book again, saying, "Mom, remember the other book that makes me cry?" Before I could answer, he said, "The Giving Tree..." and he looked over his shoulder at me and smiled as he climbed up his loft ladder. I couldn't help but give him a pat on his sweet little butt.

* * *

Other Reynolds Men
I could keep going here, writing about Kai and Rod and Pat and Tom and Chuck - other fabulous, sweet Reynolds men - but that'll have to wait for another blog. I have to wrap this up for now.

Other Sweet Men
I could also keep going here, writing about Don and my Uncle John and my Uncle Lorren and my Grandpa Lorren. I've seen them being sweet as pie, but they'll have to wait their turns. At least I know I've got some more blog material ahead of me....


Anonymous said...

Your thoughts are so full of love and powerfully said. Thank you for sharing and giving a glimps of each of your wonderful and sweet Reynolds Men. You are blessed, and that you know it and express it.
Love, Mom.

KUrlie said...

Beautiful Anj. A sidenote to 'All Through the Night'...To end his memorial service all of Mr. Eddy's students/former students (at least 50 people I'd guess) gathered in front of the chapel at his memorial service and sang it while his daughter accompanied us on guitar. I didn't sing really, more cried through it. But it is a lovely, moving song. I'm glad Mike (Sweet Reynolds Man) taught it to the grandkids.

anjie said...

omg, karen, i can't even imagine getting through that. wow, that must've been amazing - it's such a lovely song, conveying that intense love that makes us want to keep our dear ones safe. how perfect for your friend and mentor, mr. eddy.


Anonymous said...

Sweet Anjie,
Here I am again this morn with tears rolling down my cheeks just like they did last eve as I was waiting for dinner to cook and thought I'd check for a possible blog. WOW! What a blog!
The Reynolds' clan is so blessed to have you amongst us and to see our men through your eyes is more than wonderful.

Natalie N said...

Could this be any sweeter?!!?! Loved this post, Anjie!