Paying My Grand Respects

Dear Uncle Dwight, spiritual being,

I may not have known you personally or even gotten a real chance to get to know you, but I have to say your “going away party” was the best thing that I had ever witnessed in my life, a real honor and privilege to have been apart of, even more adding to the fact that it happened to fall on my sister Emily’s 19th birthday, the symbolic celebration of life advancing and life ending hard to ignore.

You were a great man, who accomplished many things in your lifetime, notably being a teacher of many and inspiring others to learn, and serving in the Michigan National Guard, taking an important part in defending this great nation. All of the family still living were in attendance, many of them I had never met, saying their goodbyes, paying their respects, telling marshmallowy stories of you and how you made certain family members lives better with your joyful presence, and how you graciously helped out individuals, including my father when he was going through his first hip replacement back in 2001 – you were willing to put aside your own schedule to help a friend or relative in need, and that shows how unselfish a person you were.

I especially enjoyed the story of how you, when you were a young lad, used to sit in the back of the church, the very same one you were laid in today, and always make noise, such as tapping your Kiwanis Club ring on the pew or talking loudly with a friend, until your mother supposedly whispered, “Quiet, Dwight!” I would have never known it before, but you were quite a humorous individual, who loved to make others laugh, and could brighten up anyone’s day in an instant, just because you were so free spirited and full of happiness. You were quite the life of the party when you were living, and I can only imagine that you will continue to be that way while living within the pearly gates.

“And I will raise you up on eagle’s wings” – Singing those hymnal songs was one of the best moments of your funeral service, the togetherness really coming alive, the serious matter of the moment in the air being cut through like a knife, cheerfulness instantly spreading to everyone in the church. I hadn’t sung church songs in so long, I forgot how wonderful it sounded to have my voice ring out, to feel my vocal cords vibrating, joining the the warm chorus of spiritually invigorating music, only this time it didn’t seem empty, had a definite purpose – I and everyone else were singing to you; this was your time to shine, your victory celebration, celebrating a good long life and how it touched many other people’s lives in truly amazing ways. One of your favorite church hymns, “Amazing Grace”, was the final to be sung, and there are not enough words to describe how special a moment it was singing with everyone, young and old.

Reverend Elias Murbiro from Zimbabwe did an incredible preaching about your life and how you have gone from a “physical body to a spiritual body”, repeating those words a number of times during the sermon, each time with a daring burst of soul in his voice. His words were packed with power and ultimate enthusiasm, really uplifting the spirits of all who mourned in the small church on a chilly February afternoon in Saginaw, your’s and the Chisholms’ home for many years. His voice was so booming, I could literally feel my hymnal book vibrating.

80 years. That’s a good long life. Nice round number. Eight decades worth of events, many of them historical. When you were born in 1934, Iran was Persia, The Three Stooges had just been introduced, and Adolf Hitler had just taken over as the head power, or Fuhrer, of Germany, and 90% of the population actually approved of his presidential power – that percentage supposedly went down over time. The price of gas in ’34 was a mere 10 cents. The Great Depression was ending.

So here’s to an incredible life worth living every day, and how you never let one moment slip away while you were in your prime; from enjoying some of your favorite hobbies such as hunting, fishing, and writing music, to doing the thing you loved the most – teaching, going from educating high school kids to continuing to spread the gift of knowledge in retirement.

Best wishes in the afterlife,

Your nephew,


If You’re Reading This…

Dear Dad,

Remember when you said you wanted to read my blog and I gave you the web address to it? I told you the name, spelling out the letters since it is a funny word that you most likely wouldn’t understand, but apparently you didn’t register it completely and said you would come back to it later, maybe when you had more time. I could have written it down but that would have made me seem a bit pretentious, a bit needy. Well, you still have not gotten back to me on this, haven’t informed me of your decision to check out my work. I know you have been busy as of late with your surgical appointments and trying your best to get by at work with your predicaments, but I would be feel greatly appreciated if you had, in the back of your mind perhaps, the future intention of visiting my blog, had it as a priority to see what your son has been cooking up for the last few months, to see how much thought and practice went into turning this little project of mine into something worthwhile and central to my identity. You would no longer be in the dark with this hobby of mine, the mystery would be lifted, you would understand my reasons for doing this better than ever, would change your mind about it being an irrelevant time waster.

As of now, you are in a hospital bed at MacLaren’s resting after just having surgery to realign your artificial hip joint. I hope your surgery went well and you are doing fine, though word from Jack and posts on Facebook seem to confirm that you made it through alright. I know it is not easy being in your position and life gets tougher for you as these problems with your hips resurface after ten years, 2005 being the last time you had to get hip replacements. I know your job at the Dollar General is not the most ideal for you and the people you work with are not your biggest fans, since your disability does make it difficult to stand all day and to move at the speed strictly required for this job. I can only imagine the stress and pain you must feel after about an hour of continuous standing behind the cashier counter, unable to use a stool because it wouldn’t look good for business in the manager’s eyes. You are being very mistreated at this job, a cruel deal of them cutting back your hours to basically fit one full work day, making barely enough money to pay for gas on a weekly basis. Finding a job has been difficult for you, application after application going through and coming back with a big fat “Rejected” stamped on it, and landing this one at Dollar General was basically taking whatever you could get. I hope you are welcomed back with open arms when you do eventually return to your job, but I assume you and I are going to take that with a grain of salt since the history with your fellow employees has been rocky.

If the right time comes around and you do take the opportunity to read my blog someday, I hope you realize the budding talent I have nurturing here, what amazing experience I have been partaking in for the last year and a half. I would love for you to get a glimpse at some of the most inner, personal thoughts I have always had on my mind but never shared with you or anyone else for that matter. I would really love to make you proud, to see a smile form on your face, to have something to share with you that we could then converse about over an afternoon lunch, or when we are in the car alone. My biggest hope for this blog was to have people be interested in reading about events in my life and being inspired by the thoughtful pieces I have written. It soon turned into a place where I could mediate through writing, could explore different ways to interpret ideas, play around with different genres of writing. It soon led to a place where I could share pictures, showcase my growing talent for photography. Photography soon led to developing the poetic side of my mind, being able to express ideas creatively with artful prose. When I started this blog back in June of 2013, I really had no idea where this would lead me and it didn’t start off that smoothly. I spent a lot of time writing my very first posts, meticulously checking them over, adding and deleting bits I found interesting or just redundant, but they just didn’t appeal to anyone, being completely ignored for the most part. It wasn’t until late September 2014 that this blog truly took off, reaching heights I had not seen yet, sparking a brand new fire inside myself, opening up the door to new and exciting ideas that had always eluded me. If you looked back on the early months in the life of this blog, you would see that I started off writing epic long pieces that tried to include as much detail as possible in order to impress a potential gracious audience. But the trouble I ran into as time went on is that I had no plan set in motion for this blog, was not aware of the many things I could have been doing to improve my blog beyond a jumbled pile of words and pictures.

When you get out of the hospital, there lies a hope inside me that you will witness a sort of “rebirth”, a new sense of hope being introduced into your life. I really want you to look at life differently from now on, to approach things differently. By taking a trip to my little corner of the web, I truly believe you will learn so much more about your own son that you had never known before and will greatly enjoy what you see.


Your immensely talented son, Matt

 In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Audience of One.”