As I got the call this morning that my grandpa had passed, you can’t help but remember all the little things. I remember stories being told to me about him (good and bad), and this is what I have – and it could be truth or not – as much of this is from when I was a young kid; so who knows if what I remember is fact – but it’s how I remember it.
He use to make my grandma cringe…. yeah – every time he would walk past her it would poke her or grab her neck and she would say “knock it off dicky.” He was fairly quiet until he wasn’t. He had a sawmill/lumberyard and we (meaning the cousins) would play and climb the logs and play around the saws and search for the stray cats hiding in the logs until he would come out and holler at the top of his lungs – getottahere! I think he did it less because he didn’t want us playing for safety reasons, and more because he loved to see us all run and scatter for fear of getting in trouble because we weren’t suppose to play in there.
Every dinner that we ever had at my grandparents house was followed by grandpa going to the recliner and taking a nap and taking over the TV with western movies. We would sometimes pester him until he took a swat at us…. and parents would be shushing us or telling us to play outside; but more than once I saw him grinning… because he took pleasure in watching us squirm and hustle.
He had a pig named BOOF BOOF. It was a 200 year old pig… well not really… he butchered it every year and got a new one, but it always had the same name every year and every get together it was an event to go see how freakishly huge the pig was. Then he would pick one or two of us and drape us over the gate telling us he was feeding us to the pig… until we squealed, and he got a huge grin on his face. He would grunt at us more than he would speak, but you knew when he was happy or amused.
He was a little evil (ok maybe more than a little), as he got a huge kick out of making the dogs scream… by pulling their ears until they yelped. I never said he was perfectly nice – again – he was most pleased by getting a reaction out of others, human or animal. He had a couple geese later than were quite mean… possibly because he hassled them – and yet for some reason no matter how much torture went on, we all loved him just the same – even the animals.
He would take us on tractor rides – or whatever fun farm thing he had to ride around in. Would go pick blackberries occasionally, and when I was really young he would help me find walking stick bugs around their house.
He was a logger all his life that was allergic to bees…. how that all works I don’t know – but obviously he lived to be 89 so either someone was telling me a fib or he was just damn lucky. He couldn’t read – and nobody really spoke of it, but when he got cards or there was something to read he would have my grandma or one of his kids, or us read things to him. He ran a successful business despite this shortcoming (or because my grandmother ran the show really). He built log cabins, and when he was in the hospital years ago with gall stones passing – I bought him a stack of timber house magazines… and sat with him for a couple hours… we didn’t speak more than two words. All he did was grunt smile and say neeno, yet you could tell he was happy I was there.
He loved his slot machines – and many times father’s day was spent at a casino. Yes… all of us, even the kids… (not so regulated back then). My grandma passed some years prior to this – but both of them were awesome and playing cards and dice was just something you learned young in my family. If you served him he loved it – make him breakfast or dinner and you got to the top of his list. He loved his money so much that he buried it all in jars…. and my grandma had a map of the treasure… to my knowledge he had dug it all up and spent it all after my grandma passed… but good for him!
Mance got the brunt of my grandpa’s sass… because my grandpa loved to trick people into taking a shot of 151 Bacardi. They felt compelled with his peer pressure to do a shot with him; unknowing that it wasn’t just a normal shot and he would giggle with pride like a child when they did the shot and then saw the burn of it on their faces.
He was not always nice to others that I love dearly, personally I think that my grandma held him together and made him a better man and once she passed he had lost the glue in his life. But I prefer to remember that I have a lot of amazing memories of him.
I got his sass, and his stubborn nature – I’ll take that. My last grandparent has passed.