On the front steps they gathered. Balmy Sunday mornings brought the smell of pipe tobacco, peppermint, coffee & leather. The greying hair, weathered faces carrying an easy smile and a firm handshake. Relics from another time, quick with a smile and a twinkle in their eyes. Mischief ran deep in hearts of generosity. Age brought family many children deep. Grandchildren soon came to their knees.
Every Sunday, coffee brewed, windows cleaned. Cowboy boots, polyester pants and leather belts buckled Texas style. Quick with wit, opinion and laughter. Oh the laughter - eyes crinkled in mirth with brothers. Ex Military, Sometimes Crotchety and Grave...sometimes, jovial and pranking everyone who walked by. Aggies and Longhorns, rivals but best friends. Family, community. Love unconditional.
My Sunday morning was not complete without a pipe-smelling hug. If I tried to walk by, they grabbed me by the hand, stronger than I could resist and insist on a hug from one of their pretty girls. Scratchy Grandpa kisses on the cheek from men
Men who would one day be the mold I looked for. My own grandpa never came around. Hardly knew him except in the last year before he died. These men, they were my grandpas from birth. They knew me tiny, they knew me childlike. They knew me teenagery, they knew me grown. Always loved, always supported, always made me feel like a treasure. When really, it was them. The three. They were my treasure. My church grandpas. On the front steps of the church. Peppermint. Coffee, Leather & Pipe Tobacco.
Their faithful hands and hearts led us. Their strong arms and hearts led us. They led us loudly and quietly. They were brothers, uncles, fathers, grandpas to all of us. Strong faith, Loving Jesus, imperfect men but following Jesus all the same. As diverse as the varied dirt-earth we dig our heritage deep in. They were deep soil for the roots of us. Running the race ahead of us. Carrying on His great name.
Forever in eternity, ahead of us, they go. No more limping, no more pain, no more weathered bodies worn and weary. No more tears and heartaches over earthly loss. No more imperfect world to provoke to fire. They walk with their Savior tonight. Maybe they are gathering with Him on the front steps...in leather cowboy boots, drinking coffee, & smoking pipe tobacco and sharing another laugh.