a welder's arc

After 10 p.m. hot chocolate and french toast last night at IHOP with some good friends, a woman begins to share the story of her blind grandfather and his organ playing. It is told as a folk-like tale of a man stricken with diabetes, who has become blind much too young. In his past life he was a welder, which he still did even with his sight impairment.

In this story he gathers some of his family around as he prepares to play the organ for them. He turns on many lamps which are aimed down at the keyboard, and at the right moment flips down his welder's mask. We laugh as my friend describes this grandfather and his quirks. He reaches up to begin playing and engages the dance beat button that many organs have. After starting the tune with one finger on his right hand, he soon makes a mistake and throws a benign swear word out through the mask. He tries again and again, providing great humor to the family. The blind man sitting under strong lights wearing a welder's mask.

It is humorous and it is tragic altogether in its holding on to his past sense of career and purpose. Interesting how so many emotions are able to coexist in a simple retelling of a story that has meant something to someone you care about.

4 comments

Heidi Ashworth | January 21, 2009 at 11:48 AM

That man had a brilliant sense of humor! Loved this story!

April | January 21, 2009 at 12:56 PM

Ironic how we do the same in our own lives. Hold on to things out of comfort when in reality they may hold us back or may serve us no purpose.

LisAway | January 21, 2009 at 1:02 PM

And it's surprising how much I felt as I read this. I don't know the granddaughter at all. Still it is a sweet, sad picture.

charrette | January 22, 2009 at 11:22 PM

I first saw this on your Facebook. I SO wish I'd been there! Fabulous character, and wonderful retelling.