Thursday, July 14, 2011

Grandpa Luke's Final Visit

Is it possible for relatives, or friends who have passed on to communicate with us?

This is a rather sad account with a broad timespan, but it ends well and I’ll be judicious with the exposition.

The story starts in Ardmore, Oklahoma, where my family and I were living at the time. Actually, I need to back up a bit further.  We’d been working and living near Houston, Texas when the landslide or avalanche began. The economy, especially the Oil & Gas sector, in which I work, had taken a nosedive and the company I worked for, a place that I had planned on retiring from, was gobbled up by another petroleum giant. This kind of thing was widespread. Thousands of people were losing jobs. I still had mine, but had been told it was being phased out. Out of the blue, I got a job offer in Ardmore, and we put our house up for sale and moved.  Things went well at first, but quickly began to turn sour. I was transferred from auditing, a job that I loved, into a supervisory position in revenue, a branch of the Oil & Gas industry in which I had little to no experience. It quickly turned into a nightmare.

To make matters worse, I received a letter from the Veterans Administration – I’d purchased the Houston house with a VA loan – advising me that the buyers had defaulted and that I owed the $12,000.00 difference between what they sold it for and the original loan amount.  I began paying them $200.00 a month, but they said this was not enough. I forgot to mention that our daughter had just started college, which further increased our financial demands. When a friend of mine, who worked for a rival firm, told me of an opening in her company with a much more attractive salary package, I applied for it and got it. At the time, it seemed like a blessing. It was not. The company went bankrupt and I was left without a job. A few months later, after exhausting my options, I, too, was forced into bankruptcy.

Not long after that, I received a phone call from my uncle, telling me that my grandfather, Luke Padgett, had passed away. I loved my grandfather. However, as a child, I was afraid of him. He was big, stern and didn’t speak much. My memories were of him sitting in a chair outside, smoking a corncob pipe. Occasionally, he’d lean down and stroke my head then say, “You’re a good boy, bus.” That’s what he called me. I dropped everything and went to the funeral.

After that, my wife, Kathi, and I decided to leave Ardmore and return to our home town of Tulsa, Oklahoma. We had family there, and we figured the job market would be better. I sent out hundreds of resumes without success. Then, at what we thought to be the apex of our misery, our daughter, Karen, whom we love and adore, gave us some news. It was almost Christmas and I’d left some ornaments for her to hang on the tree. Instead, she told us she was getting married. My wife and I were completely unprepared for this, so we took it kind of hard.

In an effort to shorten this, here is what happened next:

Our 13 year old Wiemaraner, Ginger passed away. Two weeks later, the cat, Mittens, left us as well. The vet said she’d died from a broken heart. I knew how she felt. A few days after that, I was sitting at my writing desk – yes I was attempting to write even then – when I heard a thump. I turned around to see that our final pet, the parakeet had just died as well.

This might sound comical to some people, but it did not seem that way to me. At that point I just gave up. I put down my pencil and stopped writing. My wife and son both had jobs so I was alone each day. I just sat in the living room, no television, no radio or anything. I could not find a job and I was getting nowhere with my writing. Each day I sat in silence, wondering what would happen next. Needless to say, I fell into a deep depression.

Then one day, as I sat alone, I heard a strange sound, as if someone was behind me. When I got up from the chair, I saw no one, but I was surrounded by an old, familiar aroma: The distinctive smell of my grandfather Luke’s corncob pipe. He spoke to me, not through a physical auditory sound, but his words formed inside my head. “Time to move on, bus, time to get on past this.”

I told Grandpa Luke that I would do as he said. I went into the bathroom, shaved and took a shower then went down and applied for work with yet another temporary employment agency. This time I got hired.

I often wonder if Grandpa Luke asked the angels if he could take a leave of absence so he could come down to help his grandson. Thanks, Grandpa. I’ll see you in Heaven.
Please feel free to comment, or, if you have stories of your own that you would like to share, please email them to me at


Gloria Teague said...

Oh my goodness, I didn't find any of this comical, Bob. This hurt my heart for you and your family. Gosh, what an awful time it must've been, all that loss. I read this with tears in my eyes. God must love you an awful lot if He let your grandpa visit long enough to help you along. I have a rare visitor that wears my mother's perfume and when my dogs stare at open air and growl or whimper, I smile and say, "Mom, I love and miss you so much but you're scaring my dogs." I don't hear words but I feel LOVE, and it's always when I'm at a low point or in pain. We are loved, Bob Avey, by a being higher than we'll understand until Heaven. Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful, albeit sad, time of your life.

bob said...

Thanks, Gloria. It was a tough time in my life. I hope that, through this blog, I can reach others who have had similar experiences. Thanks for commenting and sharing.

Chipper Muse said...

Wow, I'm glad I got to stop by your blog today, so that this was the first post I would read. It is a wonderful, powerful entry. I'm sorry, of course, for all your losses. I know how hard that is. I had a similar experience in that I lost my brother, went to his funeral, and came home to a flood in my apartment. I had to move twice within 6 months because of that flood. It's hard when losses come so quickly, one after another. I'm glad, though, that you got to feel your grandfather's presence and guidance at a really low point, and that it helped you get up and move forward. Thanks for sharing!

bob said...

Thanks, for commenting, Chipper Muse.