Run You Little Devil, Run! I’ll Git You Next Time!

 

My grandfather, Pacaw, was a walking rack of bones,stooped-shoulders diminishing the six foot frame of his youth. A chain-smoker, he was never without a hand-rolled cigarette.  Taking a small cotton drawstring bag from a red flip-top can of Prince Albert Tobacco, he centered loose tobacco onto a cigarette paper,licked the length of one side of the paper, then rolled it.  Once complete, he put the cigarette in his mouth, cupped his hand around it, and lit it with a match while he inhaled.  Though I was fascinated with the process, I always feared he’d suck the fire down his throat. I yearned for those little cloth tobacco bags and tobacco cans but wisely, Mother denied me that prize.  Mother had told me so many stories of him, I watched him intently, always hoping he’d do something fantastic or say something interesting.  Unfortunately, he’d smoked his whole life leaving only the shell of a body and a few embers of personality that sputtered and died before bursting into full flame.

Pacaw ate a few bites of bacon and eggs, then lit up a smoke and visited while the rest of us finished breakfast.  He joined us at the table for other meals, but hardly touched food, smoking as we ate. A few times, he launched into a tale of his youth, the stories I was rabid for.  Unlikely to say much the rest of the day, he spent summer afternoons on the front porch, reading paperback Westerns. Despite the suffocating Texas, heat he was never without his coat and gray felt hat. I was mystified to see him sitting in his straight chair, legs twisted corkscrew style, both feet resting on the floor.

I thought him quite grumpy, since he wasn’t partial to slamming screen doors, or kids racing by him while he tried to read in peace. Mother must have wanted us to know the man she knew, because one hot afternoon, she pulled up a chair and called us to sit with them.

“Daddy, do you feel like telling the kids the story about you and Everitt and the ducks?”  He seemed pleased and set his book face down on the porch.

“I reckon I can.  I was over at my friend Everitt’s house one day. For some reason, his mama didn’t like me much, so I pretty much tried to steer clear a’her. Well, we’d been to the barn to get Everitt’s cane pole and was headed for the creek, when we noticed that Miz Maxey, Everitt’s ma, had let her flock of ducks out. She was real proud a’them ducks. They was a mama duck with ’bout a dozen ducklings just ahead of us. They was just tiny little things, probably was gonna be their first time in the water. Mama Duck went right on in with her brood a’follerin’ her. They swam just like they’d been doing it for years. Just as they was about to get to the other side, one of us (I think it must’ve been Everitt) chunked a piece of wood in the crick. Them and their mama ducked under and come up on the other side. I was on that other side and chunked it back across. They ducked under and come up on the other side again. It was so funny, I guess we’d done it more than we realized ‘fore we noticed not too many ducks was a’coming up. We never thought about we was wearing them little ducks out.  We was standing there worryin’ over what we’d done and didn’t notice Miz Maxey headed our way, mad as hops. She’d seen what we was up to and I took off. Last I knew, she was a’whalin’ Everitt, and yellin’ after me, “Run, you little devil, run! I’ll git you next time!” I felt just awful about them little ducks, but I sure kept my distance from Everitt’s ma for a good long time!”

He was a person with thoughts and feelings just like me after that day.

Grandpa Was a Dancing Fool

toe on fire0006repost:

When my Grandpa Roscoe and his brothers were young, they never missed the rare opportunity to attend a dance or church social, no matter how hard they’d been working on the farm. They’d work like mad all week to get through in time to ride out to any barn-dance, Continue reading

Grandpa and I /Guest Post from Erika Kind

I am so delighted that my friend Erika Kind agreed to do a guest post for me.  I have read and enjoyed hearing of the wonderful, warm relationship she had with her grandfather.  Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if we all had a person with whom we share unconditional love and the bond that is never broken?

Grandpa and I

My grandfather was born 1927 as the only child of his parents. As far as I know he had a happy childhood. But his good times ended before he was even 20 years old when he was conscripted for WW II. He often told us about the war, his struggles in captivity and starving till he was just skin and bones. My grandfather was Austrian.   After Hitler invaded Austria they had to fight for Germany.  At the end of the war when all the horrible facts were revealed to the general public, he was shocked to no end to learn what he had been forced to fight for. Due to infections and lack of food, he developed cirrhosis of the liver which eventually killed him. My grandfather was a policeman all his life,. He was living and working in Vienna. Here is a photo of him with his father. Grandpa and Father

My “Opapa”, as we called him, was a tall, handsome man. He was married twice. His first wife was my mom’s mother. They got divorced when my mother (also an only child) was 11. When I was born, I was his pride and joy. I am sure that we are true soul mates. We had this certain connection. He was a young grandpa at the age of 43. When I was about 5 months old my parents moved with me to another part of the country about 600 km away from Vienna. Afterwards, I only saw my grandfather when he came for vacation for two weeks a year or when we went to Vienna for 3 weeks during the summer break. Grandfather Handsome That’s me and grandpa. Grandpa and Baby Erika My grandfather did everything for me. He always knew how to cheer me up when I was mad or sad. I loved the way of making me laugh, imitating voices and roles of popular comedians. He loved music. We always sang as we walked through the woods. He also kept me entertained imitating instruments like drums and trumpets. He built a huge model railroad layout for me, though it took him years since he could only work on it during his two week vacation with us. Grandpa knew everything about the Austrian history, really EVERYTHING! Whenever we walked around Vienna, went to a museum, or visited a castle or burg, he was like a historic almanac. Of course he not only knew about the historic persons and how everybody was related, but all the data of all happenings. Naturally, I did not appreciate it a bit. As a child or teenager, I did not listen, finding it boring.  Only days after he had died, a question about history came up. I reflexively thought I could ask Opapa… and started crying the next moment. During my teenage times I pulled back and didn’t talk a lot. I was in a lot of pain and didn’t let anybody in, not even my grandfather. I know that I was not nice at times and even mean. Grandfather never ever said one single word. He never acted hurt or annoyed. Never! I guess he was the only person in my whole life who never made me feel guilty. He just let me be. Five days before he died he called my mother. I was planning a visit a week later and he wanted to catch up with data. He wasn’t well at that moment and I am pretty sure he knew what was coming. When he called I was waiting for my sister to get ready for our Volleyball practice. We were already late. I did not take the call and just told my mom what to tell him. In the end I could have taken the call because they ended it before I left.  I missed my last opportunity to hear his voice. It took me many years to forgive myself for missing this chance. My grandfather died in 1990 at the age of 62.  In my mind, I still see his smiling face and  his curly grey hair going weird in the wind.  I still see the way he was dressed, the way he walked and moved and hear his special laughter.   Most of all I still feel his loving spirit!Grandpa         Erika for post

The Trouble With Ducks

I loved hearing my grandpa Roscoe get cranked up on a good story. His best were about devilish pranks he was part of as a boy.  This is one of my favorites.

duck drowning         ” I was over at my friend Everitt’s house one day.  For some reason, his mama didn’t like me much, so I pretty much tried to steer clear of her.  Well, we’d been to the barn to get Everitt’s cane pole and was headed for the creek, when we noticed that Miz Maxey, Everitt’s mama, had let her flock of ducks out. She was real proud of them ducks.  There was a mama duck with about a dozen ducklings just ahead of us.  They was just tiny little things, probably was gonna be their first time in the water.  Mama Duck went right on in with her brood following her.  They swam just like they’d been doing it for years.  Just as they was about to get to the other side, one of us (I think it must’ve been Everitt) chunked a piece of wood in the creek.  Them and their mama ducked under and come up on the other side.  I was on that other side and chunked it back across.  They ducked under and come up on the other side again.  It was so funny, I guess we’d done it more than we realized before we noticed fewer ducks were coming up.  We also hadn’t noticed Miz Maxey headed our way, mad as hops.  She’d seen what we was up to and I took off.  Last I knew, she was whaling Everitt, and yelling after me, “Run, you little devil, run!  I’ll git you next time!”  I kept my distance for a good long time!”