Monday, February 16, 2009


As a "sicky" I spent many hours on Grandpa's lap in the rocking chair. Frequently an earache would send me there and he would hold me close, smoke his smelly old pipe, and blow wonderfully warm smoke in my ears to ease the pain. Being sickly sometimes messes with your good judgment and on occasion my temper got me in real trouble. Playing in Grandpa's wagon was a favorite pastime where my sisters and I would perfect beautiful "maypop" people, choosing just the right sizes for body parts to be attached with broom straw. Don't mess with my maypops - a flash of anger, a butcher knife thrown, a sister's eye that could have gone out. Such antics earned me the title "Samson" from Grandpa and he would chide "Now, now Samson, put down that jawbone" and administer the appropriate action. A sick old man and a sickly child - Grandpa and I connected.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Grandpa was a stern, earthy old teddy bear. When he was troubled, the entire household knew it. A command never had to be repeated. His pipe smoking, tobacco chewing and asthma powder burning rendered him smelly and his apparent dislike of shaving made for constant stubble that could either soothe a ruffled feather with a giggle or bring a squeal of displeasure. He was top rooster in his household. At Grandpa's table there would be no talking. We children would file onto the bench at the back side of the table and sit quietly as he prayed a blessing for the food and for his family. He would then pass a bottle of "Vim Herb", the day's remedy for health and wellness, and while it made its way around the table he would butter each child's biscuit and personally deliver it across the table. Food was served from the table with nary a flinch at what was put on the plate.