As smoke curled around in the crisp air of the January night, I closed my eyes. A hearty cherry tobacco smell drifted over to me, and I inhaled slowly. That is one of my favorite scents, as it reminds me of my Grandfather Clyde. He rocked slowly back and forth on his wooden rocker, occasionally puffing on his cork pipe. “Snow’s ass deep on a seven foot man, I’d say.” Clyde mumbled. I laughed at his dated expression. He has a lot of those; they never seem to run out. Old chestnuts, I suppose he’d call them.
We sat in silence for what seemed like a long while, not because we didn’t have anything to say, but for the simple fact that we enjoyed the silence. It never feels awkward or uncomfortable, that’s just Clyde’s way. He cherishes the modest things in life. Walks in the woods or a fresh packed pipe are his joys. He doesn’t need much to feel satisfied, laughs often, and appreciates small gestures. He is a dedicated man who sees a job through to the end. When family visits, he doesn’t allow distractions to get in the way. All of his attention is focused solely on the person he is with and what they have to say.
There aren’t many times in today’s world when a person can feel special. Most of us blend in to one another, copying the trends and following popular culture. Clyde makes everybody feel like they have something to offer, and you don’t have to trample over others to receive his praise. Everything in our lives is packed to the gills. We listen to our iPods as we surf the web while texting a frenemy at the same time as we hold a halfhearted conversation with a person we don’t truly care about. Clyde brings my family and I back down to earth. He makes eye contact when he speaks to you. My cell phone doesn’t get service at his house, because the town they live in probably isn’t even on a map (not that anybody outside of New England knows where Vermont is anyway). He holds his family and friends close, and all other unimportant things he casts aside. There is no extra baggage in his life weighing him down, and he is a content man for these reasons.
If everybody could live their lives like Clyde, the world may be less technologically advanced, but they would be happy. No false sense of being or phony friendships would exist. People might use phrases like: “On a sticky wicket”, or “Finer than a frog hair split four ways”, but the words would be involved in a conversation that meant something, not sent over a text. Many people miss out on the important things in life by exhausting themselves in a constant race to nowhere. Clyde has taught me how to be happy for eternity, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.