THE FAMILY ALBUM: Return visits

In September 1971, my paternal great grandfather, Virgil Barmes, died.

A year, or so, later, I went with my grandparents up to the smorgasbord in Decatur, Indiana, The Back 40.

As we were dining, my grandmother gave out a slight gasp and covered her mouth with her hand.

“Leroy, look over there in the corner.”

Grandpa Leroy and I both looked in the direction of Grandma’s attention. There sat an elderly white haired gentleman who looked identical to Grandpa Virgil. It was too uncanny a resemblance and we were all quite shocked.

The three of us leaned in for a quiet discussion and seconds later, when we turned our gaze back to the gentleman, he was gone. The table where he was eating was cleared.

That memory stayed with all of us for many years. Forty-nine years later, it’s still very real to me.

Several years ago, approximately twelve years after Grandpa Leroy’s death, I was in the Kroger produce section when I caught my breath at the sight of my Grandpa Leroy. The face and entire body was identical to my grandfather.

I had my phone in hand to read my shopping needs and grabbed a photo of him after he’d turned around. Even the tuft of white hair on the back of the gentleman’s head was identical to Grandpa Leroy.

What is more, the gentleman was wearing a jacket identical to one my grandfather owned that Mother gave to me. He was also wearing slacks similar to those Grandpa Leroy wore.

As I maneuvered my cart through some customers in order to get to the other side to take a shot of his face, I discovered he was gone.

The moment reminded me so much of the other moment at The Back 40 so many years ago.

When I showed the photo to Mother, she gasped with, “Oh, my God! That looks like Dad.” We both agreed, that maybe… it probably was.

And, yes, I definitely believe seeing my great grandfather and grandfather were both visits… I love those visits!

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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