When I was a child, I was sitting in my Grandfather’s living room. He lived in the city of Detroit, where he had come to find work many years before. All of my memories of my grandfather are from after he retired. We would visit my grandparents at their house in Detroit constantly. I would watch my grandpa drink Maalox right out of the bottle, constantly sipping it all day long, to keep his stomach in check.
This same grandfather, so the story goes, was once asked to play banjo and fiddle (that’s “violin” for you arteests) for the Grand Ole Opry in Tennessee, but he refused because it didn’t pay enough to support his large family. But he still pulled out his fiddle and banjo on occasion and played a little something for us kids, which I absolutely loved. But it was hard to get him to do it. He’d say, “My author-rye-tiss is given me trouble,” and that was the end of it.
So. I was sitting with Grandpa, watching TV, and a commercial came on for the brand new Disney World in Florida. I was transfixed. I wanted to head out there immediately and take up permanent residence. But when the commercial was over, Grandpa turned to me to say something, which he didn’t do very often. He just didn’t talk much. But he turned to me and said, “I don’t believe it! It’s a bunch a nonsense! Cain’t be no such thing as that Disney World! They’s a bunch of liars!”
For a moment I was startled, shaken up by the idea that I had somehow been duped by “The Powers That Be.” For a moment I took the word of my grandpa that Disney World wasn’t there and we were all being cruelly misguided by someone higher up than us. Considering that my life’s goal at that moment was to get to the fabled Land of Disney, this was quite disturbing.
But then I settled down and realized, for the first time, that my grandpa was just wrong.
I was not foolhardy enough to try and correct him. But years later I tried to make sense of what he said, and what I think is that Disney World was just too much for him. He had been born in 1899. He had been through the Great Depression. The world he grew up in was just so far removed from the images on the TV of Disney World that he simply could not even imagine a place like that existing. All of the colors and rides and music. All of those smiling people. It was just too much. So he dismissed it.
It seems to me that a lot of us do this with a lot of things. Some people dismiss joy and peace because it’s too far from their experience. Some people dismiss love and hope and forgiveness for the same reason. But just because we can’t imagine something doesn’t mean it’s not possible or true.
I have been to Disney World. It’s really there. Honest. And it’s amazing.
I just wish my grandfather could have seen it.
Peace to you.
And yes, that really is a guy from Kiss singing "When You Wish Upon A Star."
© LW Publishing 2010