A Granddaughter's Visit
“That’s where the crib dock used to be,” he said, pointing at the single, well-worn cedar post that reached upwards from a rock cluster on the shore. “Your great-grandfather made it with the help of his neighbours.”
His chair faced the large living-room picture window that overlooked the fresh waters of the rocky shoreline of Georgian Bay, two hours north of Toronto. On the arm of his chair sat his eight-year-old granddaughter, Emma, whose arm was draped across his shoulders.
When he looked up at her, he could tell by his granddaughter’s expression that she had no idea what he was talking about. “Do you see that photo album on the top shelf of the bookcase, Emma?” he asked, nodding to the right. “The one second from the left? Would you please get it for me? It contains a photo of what used to be there. It will help me explain what a crib dock is.”
Photo albums, tightly squeezed together and sequentially positioned according to year by a homemade insert in each binder’s spine, occupied the entire top shelf of the white, 3-shelf bookcase that ran half the length of the wall.
Emma tugged at the album several times before finally dislodging it. Wrapping her arms around the heavy binder she began to walk back when several photos held together by string fell onto the floor. “Ugh!”
Seeing her hesitation and understanding her dilemma, her grandfather stood up and walked over to her and picked up the package of photos. Squinting, his thumb gently brushed across the top photo. “That’s strange.”
“What’s strange, grandpa?” Emma asked, lifting her knee for the umpteenth time to help keep the binder in her grasp.
The tips of his fingers glided across the photo in silence before her question finally registered. “Eh?”
“Are you alright, Grandpa?”
“Uh-huh,” he acknowledged, still preoccupied with the photo. “It’s just that I… thought these were lost. Strange they would have been in there. I wonder…?”
The binder Emma was carrying crashed to the floor startling him.
“What the…Oh!…How thoughtless…I’m sorry, sweetheart…I should have…” Dropping to one knee, he wrapped his arms around her.
In part, he wanted to hide the tears that washed ac...