April 2018

Monday, May 31, 2010

NL #30: Angels

NL #30: My Granddaddy M. always wore a hat. My mother tells the story of the time the family was going on vacation. Granddaddy and Grandmom were in the front seat with the kids in the back. Granddaddy, who was driving, kept turning around to say, "Where's my hat?" or, "Don't sit on my hat." As they approached a bridge, my exasperated grandmother finally said, "Gimme that hat," and she threw it out the window. I love that story.

Granddaddy was a big man when he died: six foot four and over three hundred pounds. I have a picture of him and Grandmom before they were married, both skinny. His ears stuck out from under his hat. He loved to have us when we were young stand in the palm of his hand as he would lift us high over his head. I admit that I hated that, but he was so amused that I'd hold my breath and do it anyway.

Granddaddy loved to grow vegetables in the back yard. Having only eaten store-bought tomatoes that tasted like cardboard, I refused to eat his tomatoes. He would always say to me, "Girl, you don't know what's good." He was right.

My favorite story about him is one he told on himself. Once, when the family returned from being away, the home had been burgled and everything was thrown out of drawers. While they awaited the police, Granddaddy took his gun and caught up with the burgler, who refused to stop walking. So Granddaddy followed him. Finally the burgler turned to this crazy man with the gun and said, "If you don't stop following me, I'm going to kill you." At this part of the story, my granddaddy would stop, repeat the line, and laugh in the way he did: his whole face laughing but the rest of him still.

My other grandfather died when I was three years old. Though I don't remember him well, I am the only grandchild who remembers him at all. He was prouder of me than I deserved. Once, when we were walking around the block, we came to some broken glass on the sidewalk. "Some bad boys did that, probably," I said. He was struck by my vocabulary and the conceptual understanding of probably.

Another time, he wanted me to go with him to "the farm," the home where my grandmother grew up and where great aunts and uncles still lived. Already somewhat bossy, I told him I would go only if he would drive the blue pickukp truck that he and Uncle Johnny used for the hardware store they owned. Apparently, he went to some trouble to get ahold of that pickup truck.

The only memory of my Grandfather E. that I know is mine because no one has told me about it is the memory of climbing up the bridge over the railroad tracks and trying to throw a penny on top of the train as it moved under us. Years later, I went to do this on my own, but it wasn't as fun as I had remembered. Probably because he wasn't there, and I wasn't three anymore.

I think of my grandfathers as my guardian angels, men who loved me and had fun with me and required little of me in return. I'd like to be a guardian angel for my nieces and nephews, but I wonder if I have to die first. If so, I'll pass for now. I'll just love them and enjoy them.


1 comment:

  1. What a great entry, Em! Perfectly timed for me-I have spent the past week making memories with my niece and nephews, and getting reacquainted with my siblings and our families. They help stretch me out of my comfort zone and help me more deeply enjoy my own humanity in ways that I won't allow adults to.

    Thanks for these great memories!


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