September Column Winner

Noah West

Brian Blansett, Shawnee News-Star

A few days ago, my grandson, Noah, came to hang out with me.
We had the house to ourselves, so we rocked for a couple of hours and had a bottle of milk and talked about really good things.
We talked about the crappie we’d catch in a few years when we took my boat to Prague Lake.
We talked about the guitar I would teach him to play and how we’d sit on the front porch some summer evening and play old-timey songs and watch the fireflies dance along the creek.
And we talked about my cat, jealous and pouty because I had Noah in my lap instead of him.
Noah soaked up every word, staring wide-eyed into my face and giving his pacifier a good workout.
A little baby is a joy any time, anywhere, but Noah had an extra special place in our family.
When my wife knew she had only a short time left, her hope was that she would live long enough to see and hold him.
It wasn’t to be. She died in February; Noah was born in June.
The months after Dianna’s death were a blanket of loneliness that didn’t lift until Noah brought a burst of sunshine to melt our heartaches.
He was a beautiful baby, little Noah, with dark, shiny eyes, a dimpled chin and thick hair. Every grandpa thinks his grandkid is the cutest ever, but Noah really was.
When I held him, the world was good, as golden as an autumn sunset, as soft and gentle as an April breeze. He restored my faith that the future could be better than the present, that I had reasons to live to be an old man.
Tuesday afternoon, he died unexpectedly and the brightness of his life was gone like a candle in the wind.
Yesterday, we buried him next to Dianna, the grandmother who never got to hold him.
And today I pray – oh, how I pray - that what I have been told is true and she is cradling him in her arms while they wait in a place that knows only smiles and love and laughter.

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