Artist: Jayne Whitaker
Old Tales (written by Jayne W.)
"It had been a while since I had seen the old place. It was my favorite vacation spot as a kid. However, when my Dad died, there wasn’t much reason for my mother to take me all the way out to my grandfather’s anymore. Being father-in-law and daughter-in-law, they didn’t seem to get along well.
I just wished she would have let me go see him more often. Even if they didn’t sit well together, my Grandfather and I were peas in a pod.
The few times I got to visit, we would spend hours in his study where he kept his horn collection. My Grandfather had traveled a lot, and over the years he had gathered a wide variety of horn based artifacts. Every place he visited, he was sure to return with some sort of trumpet, religious piece, long bow, flask, or other indigenous art crafted from the horns of local livestock. He was kind of a renaissance man, and was interested in everything from art, to history, to biology to sociology, so, I guess the horns were representative of that.
It was great, because as soon as I took interest in something new he had collected, my Grandfather would begin to weave a story behind it. Most kids don’t take too much interest in what their elders have to say, but my Grandfather was very passionate about his stories, often using props and costumes to facilitate them.
At the end of each tale he would manage to convince me that everything he said was true. Of course I later learned just how exaggerated they were, but that never mattered to me. What mattered was how he got me interested in the outside world. His stories were what inspired me to pursue a history major at Yale. My Grandfather was ecstatic when I was admitted to his Alma mater, but unfortunately, he wasn’t around long enough to see me graduate.
That’s why it’s a miracle that I get to visit his old place even now. When he passed on, he had intended the house and it’s collections to go to me, but since I was in college and my mother did not want anything to do with it, my cousins were kind enough to hang on to the old place for a while as a vacation home. But, it’s been several years since then. I have a small family of my own now, and my cousins are getting ready to sell the place.
A lot of my memories of Grandpa’s old house are faded, but it’s still strange to see it so empty. I walk around a little bit to see if I can find any familiarity, but after a couple futile hours I decide to finally get around to getting my work done.
While my cousins and I, all agreed that the house should go, they still encouraged me to take what I wanted from Grandpa’s old collection as he had wanted me to. There’s no way I can keep all of it. So, I guess I’ll donate the rest to a museum. (The collection needs a good home.)
I start making my way towards the study, (the only room I hadn’t visited), to find that the door was already open.
I peaked inside to find my 6 year old daughter, Angie, pretending to be a matador against 2 horns on the wall that were clearly her bull. I smiled and watched her for several minutes before she noticed I was in the room. But as soon as she saw me, she grabbed my arm, dragged me across the room, and put the 2 horns from the wall into my hands.
"Now you’re a magical golden bull! I’m gonna fight you! But then I’m going to make you my friend and then we’ll go save the prince together! RAAAH!!” Angie cried as she jabbed me with yet another horn she had found from the collection on the wall.
While my Grandfather is gone, and this is my last time in his house, and most of his collection will be donated to museums, I’m just happy that his love for storytelling will be in the family for a while longer.”