Methusela’s Musings – I Dreamed A Dream

i dreamed a dream, old man with pipe

He sat in a rocking chair, the old man. Filling his meerschaum pipe slowly  with surgical precision required his full attention. When he was finished the pipe would perch at  the side of his mouth. It was never, ever lit. The comfort of the ritual, the smell of the baccy, and the feel of it in his mouth was all he wanted.  One Eye, his old cat lay curled on his lap purring contentedly. The fire, crackling logs and leaping flames, cast a shadow play on the walls of the old log cabin that was his home by the lake. There was no need for any other light. The backdrop of the night sky peeking in through the lone window whispered of mysteries not seen by the naked eye.

Outside, the velvety blackness was broken only by the twinkling of a million stars like brilliant diamonds  scattered by a careless hand. They provided a lustrous background to the full round moon. It’s reflection shimmered on the still waters of the lake. Tall and dark, the stately spruce surrounded the lake and cottage. Their straight fingers  reached upward as if ready to pluck the stars from the sky. A lone owl hooted in the branches of the tallest one.

Inside, circled around him on the floor were his grandchildren. Cosy and warm they gazed at him with rapt attention. They waited silently, barely breathing for they knew better than to interrupt. Gramps would start when he was good and ready, not before.  This too was part of a nightly ritual when they came to stay. One they all looked forward to eagerly. The littlest of them struggled to keep his eyes open. Determined not to miss a single word of Gramp’s bedtime story , he squiggled and squirmed, earning a dig in the ribs from his older sister every time.

Having filling the old pipe, worn shiny with handling, he placed the end on the left side of his mouth. Chewed on it a while. Took it out and moved it to the other side. As one the children held their breath. This was it. Gramps was ready.

Lifting his twinkling blue eyes, the old man looked at each child in turn, nodded his head, and smiled. It was as if he were taking a roll call. Having completed this important task, he slipped the pipe out of his mouth, licked his lips and took a deep breath.

I dreamed a dream, he said, in his soothing old, gravelly voice. It was not an ordinary dream. This one was special. A long, long time ago, when I was but a young lad, no bigger than you, he said, pointing to the youngest who squirmed with delight at being singled out.

The dream was so real, I can still remember it as if it was yesterday. Every detail of it is etched in my memory with precision. You know dreams like that are special. In this dream I was old, much like I am now. I was living in a log cabin by a lake. There were tall trees surrounding the lake and the cabin. There were owls in the trees that hooted at night. And there was a fire in the hearth that kept me warm at night. I sat in a rocking chair filling a very old, very special pipe. On my lap an old cat lay purring. And around me, sitting on the floor, were the most delightful group of young children. They were happy. They smiled and laughed and listened as I told them stories.  Just like we are doing now.

Don’t you think that’s wonderful, he said. That the dream I dreamed all those many years ago has come true. And here we are! All together as one big happy family. I am still that little boy inside, jumping up and down with excitement, knowing that the dream I dreamed brought me here – to be with you.

And with the telling of that tale, he took his pipe and slipped it back into the corner of his mouth. And smiled in turn at each child. They hugged their knees and smiled to know that all those many years ago before time had brought them into this world, they had already been known by Gramps in his dream.

Written in response to Lady Calen’s Sandbox Challenge No’s 79, 80

This old man has popped up before in a Birthday Story I wrote some time ago.

©  Raili Tanska

Steps for Peace

You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom — Malcolm X (1925-1965)


59 thoughts on “Methusela’s Musings – I Dreamed A Dream

    1. So glad you liked it. Did you read the other one ? There’s a link at the bottom called Birthday Story. It seems my muse tonight was a revisit from him 🙂

  1. Gramps has a lot to teach the children, and we need him to remind us that we are all part of a chain, and of how life used to be, and how it could be again. I hope he’ll visit you again, and you find the opportunity to tell us more of his visits.

    1. Thank you Jane. He is very wise, isn’t he. I’ve decided to call him Methuselah. I expect he will be telling more stories which I’ll be sure to share 🙂

  2. THAT was absolutely MAGICAL!!! Raili, I think this is your character to write about. He is wonderful. I was glued to the post. Do you have plans to do something with him? If so, have you thought of doing a Camp NaNoWriMo project in April?

    1. Thanks Calen. I have this image of your face being glued to the laptop, lol !!! He just popped in again out of the blue when I started writing this post 🙂 I think I’ll call him Methuselah. Given he’s come back for the second time, it may very well be that there’ll be more. I’m not sure about the camp thingy – we’re off on another road trip in early April. Although it will not be as long as the last, it will bite into what I can do writing wise. We’re going to visit Marc in Melbourne, Shalini in Mt Gambier both coming and going as she’s on route, my famiy at Lakes Entrance for a flying visit, and an old friend mid way along. We plan to leave on the 29th.

  3. What a beautiful and captivating story …. and thank you for the Susan Boyle clip a the end … oddly we were just talking about that moment yesterday 🙂

    1. I second the gratitude for the Susan Boyle clip. An amazing story that never gets old. What I loved best about this story, Raili, was the set up. I could see the children at his feet, trying not to do anything that will lengthen the time they had to wait for the story to begin, and the delight at being singled out as special in a long-ago dream. Children always adore stories that are about them in some way. You captured it.

      Got here from the Senior Salon again, btw.
      (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
      ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
      “It takes a village to transform a world!”

  4. What a beautiful story Raili. You have a gift for words. I also read the previous post you linked to.And the video of Susan is so appropriately matched. Perhaps a few most editions to this theme may in fact turn out to be a great book. 🙂

    1. Thanks Deb for your kind comments. I have started a new Category for this muse – Methusela Musings 🙂 Others too have suggested along similar lines

  5. I loved this story. It reminds me of my husband, who has meerschaum pipes…but is allergic to cats. 😉 He loves to tell stories to our grandchildren from his rocker in our living room. What a perfect story to tell! What a charming way you told it! Thank you for this gift…Jo

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