Inspiration is inspiring, isn't it?
Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. Character and charisma are usually key elements to inspiration. I am inspired most by good public speakers(Tony Snow), powerful leaders (Reagan, Hitler, Stalin), great lyrics writers (Roger Daltry - The Who, Maynard James Keenan - Tool, Billy Corgan - Smashing Pumpkins, Jim Morrison - The Doors), and the leaders of the free world(Nixon, Truman, Eisenhower). However, inspiration doesn't always come from well known speakers and writers who drive home messages over airwaves and through books. Sometimes there is an inspiration right under your very nose that may go overlooked.
I make the drive about twice a week lately. Go down main street in town, and turn left at Rick's Autobody. Next, I take Webster out of town past Mindy's house...beep twice. I see County Line Rd, and the seemingly endless fields. I see the nice house with all the pines that extend to the road. I see the Amble house, I see Don's house. But the stamp of the whole trip out to Shepherd Road is that abandoned house. It sits on the corner of East Coleman Road, and Shepherd Road heading North. I see it every single trip, wondering if it will be standing the next time I make this trip. As I turn left onto Shepherd Rd, I slow down, thinking that maybe even in their old age my Grandpa and/or Grandma may think I'm 'tearing' down that road at an excess of their usual 8.5 mph; I turn down the radio thinking Grandpa's laser sharp hearing might pick up one of my horrid tunes blasting through the speakers. (I mean come on, you guys can't like the music that's playing on my blog site right now) As I turn in the driveway, I be sure to go extra slow as to not upturn a single piece of gravel, or Grandpa would have to go out there with the shop vac to get them out of the beautiful grass and back into the picturesque driveway. Next, I glance over at the pond and see that beautiful green grass forever circling that deep blue crisp water. The rocks look like they've been placed in the exact spot they were intended to fit in all along the edge of the water. Sometimes I wonder if I'm staring at a painting. I tear my eyes away from the sight and park the car, not too close to his truck, the dust off the driveway might scratch it.
I walk up to the cement porch that approaches that deep red door with the glass panes. I see Grandpa come hustling to the window in the kitchen as if I'm going to leave if I don't see him fast. He smiles and gives a wave to come inside. I walk in through the candy red door and onto that multi colored rug on the floor. I kick my feet and walk up the two steps with the oval shaped rugs on each one (which were imagined to be alligators by myself and the cousins in our younger days). There is yet another rug at the top of the stairs, to the right of those three beams, with a pair of white tennis shoes, and a pair of black cowboy boots, and if Grandma is home, another pair of white tennis shoes; i kick off my brown K Swisses as I walk in. Grandpa greets me with the same thing every time: "Well what do you say, John?" I glance around and notice that everything is in place...the blocks on the small table still say PORTER, there is a magazine or two waiting for me to take them (and they are always placed with about a half inch of table room on each side...never lopsided). And as I glance I take a deep breath so I can belt out, "Not much, how've you been?" in a loud enough tone for him to hear.
We retreat to the living room, which is about the only room that has changed since my lifetime. The long couch on the right side when you walk in is too firm to actually sit comfortably on for more than about 20 minutes. Next, the two Lazyboy chairs that replaced the old orange couch, Grandpa's is on the left, mine is on the right; separated by that old wooden stand with the lamp, which for 2 months out of the year holds a small chipmunk speaker that you can hear cousin Sarah sing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." The carpet is still off-white, and is still able to be drawn on with your index finger; not a piece of plastic or a hint of dirt or dust. The TV flashes on, Grandpa says, "Well, what do you want to watch?" We both always agree on the News. Usually, Grandpa is a CNN guy, and I've gotten to where I don't mind it because Lou Dobbs is an Independant, and Wolf Blitzer is favorable to watch really, so we stay away from most of the Liberal bull crap. However, from time to time we watch Fox News.
The conversations are usually among the same topics. Grandpa always says, "Talk to your Dad?" I tell him either not lately, or yeah just last night or so. He then says, "Is he liking it there?" I reply with, "He doesn't mind the area, but he doesn't like the job as much as he did in Virginia." As the conversation goes on, I find out that Grandpa cares a lot more about what I have to say than what he wants to tell me. He opens up more than I ever knew he could. Just the other day he got out some pictures to show me, and was so disappointed when he couldn't find a good picture of his father painting the house; see, he is a real person. I saw pictures of Uncle Carl holding a mammoth of a Rainbow Trout from the pond, I saw pictures of both Auntie C's when they were mere adolescents. I saw a picture of all 4 C's standing in the pond before the water had been pumped in. But most importantly, I saw a youthful Grandfather holding a fish, driving a bulldozer, and sitting in front of me. He was beaming as he looked through these pictures, proud to have lived the life he had. He even told me of how lucky he was to have my Grandmother for as long as he has; so much that he even admits to being lonely when she's gone. He told me he might have to get himself a dog if he lives alone for half the year (a lab or a weimaraner) .
I've heard so many stories in he past two years from this man. He never seems to regret much of his life, other than not spending enough time with the kids. He always talks of how he worked a lot, and the other time was devoted to beagling. I hear stories of him waking up in corn fields after a crazy night, and of getting shot and spending the night in the hospital; not to mention a night or two in jail. But none of this matters now, because he is a content man with a much nicer side then I could have imagined really.
So, I encourage you to find inspiration in an ordinary character. Anyone can be inspired by words written in a book or belted out on the radio. I am deeply inspired by these things too, but nothing compares to this. He might not be able to hear very well, but he can communicate.