I Stood In the Doorway

I’ve written many stories and poems about my grandpa, “Bunk” Stringer (we called him Pa), and I’ll surely write many more. The following poem is based on a story I wrote about him several years ago.

I Stood In the Doorway


He was the greatest storyteller of all time

At least, that’s my opinion

He once told me

The Texas panhandle is the only place

A man can stand knee-deep in mud

While sand blows in his face

Surely not an original, but

His grin and delivery

Made it his own


And, so it hurt

That last time I saw him

A stroke having left him speechless

I saw in filmy eyes

The pain of silence

But I saw too

The joy in them when I walked in

And stood beside his bed


I sat with him and told him stories

Most of them the same ones

He’d told me

He smiled and mumbled laughter

As tears I hoped were of joy

Trickled down his cheeks

And then he slept


When it was time to go

I stood in the doorway to his room

Holding bravely to my tears

Watching him sleep

Knowing he’d told his last story

And heard the last one I’d tell him

The silence so complete

It was breaking my heart


I whispered a trembling goodbye

He sat tall in the saddle and told tall tales

He sat tall in the saddle and told tall tales


Then walked quickly out of the house

Got into my car

And drove away

I cried for several miles

Maybe a hundred or more


I still miss my grandpa


Copyright © 2014 C Mashburn


 Sharing this with the good folks at dVerse Poets Pub, where Brian has prompted us to write a poem/story. I probably missed the mark a bit, but the talented folks at the pub are always forgiving about such things, and I think they’ll appreciate the connection. This poem doesn’t necessarily tell a story, but it tells a story about a teller of stories and tall tales.


  1. Sherry Mashburn said

    you inherited his gift for story telling, his twinkling eyes, and his grin! He lives on through you

  2. oh heartjerker man….having lost my grandpa at an early age…both of them…but my fathers father mostly…dang you have me in tears charles….i am glad it came full around and you could share with him the stories once more…i know that probably meant a lot….

    • Thanks, Brian. One of my regrets in life is that I didn’t tell him often enough how much he meant to me. Looking back, I don’t even think I knew. The saying comes to mind; “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”

  3. Great photo of your grandpa. A man on the land. Heartfelt poem.

    • Thank you very much! Pa was a rea-life cowboy when he was young. Once a cowboy, always a cowboy, I reckon.

  4. claudia said

    oh i love that you told the stories to him that he once told you.. how special this must have been for him… glad you were there and had those special times together

  5. alan1704 said

    heart breaking words, i still miss my grandad and his hand/bone breaking hand shake. The tall tales and the bad jokes. Love your words and your heart.

  6. To retell the stories shows that his legacy lives on.. I’m sure the tears were those of joy

  7. ayala said

    So beautiful. Reminds me of how close my son was to my dad and when he passed it was so heartbreaking.

  8. Reblogged this on Marbles In My Pocket ~ The Official Blog of Charles L. Mashburn ~ Poems, Short Stories, and random thoughts from the author of "Be Still… and know that I am God" and commented:

    Missing my grandpa today. He was a treasure.

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