Dead and gone, my grandmother used to say about people. Dead and gone.. Not just dead, but dead and gone. Well one way to be remembered is to build things. You might be dead and gone but the things you build will out live you. Even the memories you build will out live you.
Mr. Carraway has been dead and gone for years, she'd say about a neighbor who lived down the street. She was always talking about the Carraways. I formed a mental image of these people I'd never met. Mrs. Carraway was living when my grandmother talked about them. Of course they're all dead and gone now.
Mrs. Carraway might have been my grandmother's only close friend in the neighborhood in those later years of life. She seemed to be full of life though, or at least my grandmother breathed a lot of life into her. I imagined Mrs. Carraway to be quite the gal, but I never thought to say, let's go meet this Mrs. Carraway. It was enough to hear my grandmother talk about her.
I've been doing a remod on a bathroom in the cabin my dad built years ago. He built things to last but everything has it's time. I had to put in a new shower. I think about my grandmother and the other old folks who would come to stay in the cabin. The memories we built there trickle out of the walls. So I built my new wall connected to the walls he had built so many years before. It was father's day and I was feeling pretty connected to my father. He's been dead and gone for years now.