Sunday, May 16, 2010

Memories of Grampa and Gran'ma.....

My grandpa was a salty old soul.  Only went through the 6th grade as so many boys of his generation did, he was in the Army and fought in Korea before marrying my grandma.  He was a paratrooper and got shot in the lower back.  Grandpa has a purple heart among other medals, but I don't know what.  I've never seen them and he never talked about it to anybody except for me.  About the only thing he ever said was he asked me if I'd ever eaten sushi.  He said It wadn't bad except for the eyeballs.............  He told me stories about being a young boy and rollin' up corn husks and smoking them and he taught me lots about fishin' and gardenin'.  He was a truck driver for most of my dad's childhood and then he worked at Mobil Chemical until he got sick and couldn't work anymore. 

Grandpa and Grandma with their Christmas present of pictures of me and my sister.  I'm on the left in the Ernie shirt...

I don't ever remember my grandpa not sick.  He got sick the year after I was born, so I don't remember him any other way.  He had diabetes, congestive heart failure, gout, and a slew of other troubles.  He taught me a lot about how to be.  No matter how sick he was, you could go in the bedroom and say How ya feelin' Grampa?  and he'd always say Purty good, or Oh I'm tollable...... On his good days he'd go out to the garage and sit in a padded rocking chair and tinker.  He made bird houses, and picnic tables and all kind of stuff from that chair.  On his bad days he'd have a TV tray set up next to the bed with a dismantled VCR on it.  He'd roll over, reach out and tinker for a few minutes, then roll back over to rest.  He never complained, EVER that I'd heard of.  Oh he'd get grouchy with others but he never complained.  When I was a real little girl I used to love going to visit him in the hospital.  He was always on the cardic floor and the nurses would take us in the little room and show us our Grandpa's print out.  She'd tear a big long sheet of it off and let us take it home.......See, that's your grandpa's heart beats!  He always, always saved part of his supper for us, and I grew to love hospital mashed taters and gravy.  I'll never forget once when I was older, probably about 15 or 16, he was in the hospital and I was up there with Gran'ma.  He'd just put a big ole wad of skoal in and the doctor came in.  Grandpa got all wild eyed and frantically started brushing the sheet off where he'd spilled skoal.  The doctor came sauntering over, looked at Grandpa appraisingly, and said....Open your mouth Charlie.......Grandpa shook his head no.....Charlie, open your mouth......again, a kind of a grunt and frantic head shaking No!  Charlie, OPEN your mouth.....Grandpa took a big ole gulp and when he opened his mouth there wasn't nary a bit of skoal in sight!  It's so funny cuz there was little bits of chew all over the bed, and he'd been spittin' in the trash can.  It wasn't like he was foolin' anybody! 

Me with a catfish...I was 3 years old.  That is Dad and Sister 3 in the background...
He and my grandma used to take me and my sister camping in the old slide in pickup truck camper.  I was just amazed by the gas lamps that were on the wall!  My gramps was an amazing fisherman.  He's have 6 poles lined up on the bottom, fishin' for catfish.  He'd hook a fish and then holler Come'ere Skunk! and real this 'un in for me!  I never lost a fish that Grandpa hooked for me no matter how long it took my little 5 year old self to get it hauled into the bank!  We used to fish at a place called Lake Greenwood.  Fishing there with my daddy and Grandpa are some of my earliest and clearest memories.  There was a big sandy washout and we'd walk down that and sit on the spit of sand at the bottom to fish.  Grandpa always fished out of an old metal folding chair, and the legs of that chair would sink down so far that he was almost sitting on the ground.  I remember once trying to set the hook in a fish like Grandpa line came flying outta that water so fast!  It smacked into the bank behind us.  Grandpa just chuckled and shook his head.  Oh how I loved that man. 

Spending the night at Grandma and Grandpa's I'd get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and Grandpa'd be standing in the kitchen with a spatula in hand.  Want an fried egg samwitch? he'd say.'s 1 in the mornin!  Why would I want a fried egg samwitch?  He's the first person I remember making me an ice cream cone at home. I thought that was just cream cones at home!  When I was little, every Sunday after church we went to Grandma and Grandpa's for sunday dinner (meaning the noon meal).  All my dad's sisters would be there (except for Sister 3) and his brother.  My cousins would be there and it was such a good memory.  I miss those times. 

Now don't get me wrong, Grandpa had his faults.  He was a crotchety old sort and especially hard on my dad, (his oldest child).  They never did really get on too well, but the three of us spent lots of time together and they loved each other.  They were too much alike to get on very well, just like me and my dad are, although my daddy and I have a much better relationship than he and grandpa had.  He was hard on my Grandma too.  They were pretty much just like Archie and Edith Bunker, you know, from the TV show?  I don't remember him ever saying a cross word to me though.  I could ask him anything and I spent lots of fond hours at his knee, soaking up anything he wanted to tell me about.  He taught me about the proper way to raise livestock, how to make things grow and thrive.  He died when The Youngun was 18 months old and I still miss him so much. 

Left to right...Dad, Grandpa holding the Youngun, me......

Grandma got cancer when I was a senior in high school or maybe it was shortly after I graduated. 

It was such a shock to us because she was always so cheerful and happy,  always so healthy.  She got sick and they gave her 3 months.  She lived 3 years after that, always cheerful and hopeful. I miss her so much too.  When she gave you a kiss, boy you stayed kissed!  She's put both hands on either side of your face, scrunch it together and pull you in for a nice hard pucker right on the mouth.  Oh how I'd like to have one of those kisses right now!   She was always there when we needed her.  She'd call every single day (even though she lived only about 6 blocks away) to see how ever'body was.  Just callin' to see how you'uns was doin' is all.....  She died when I was 3 months pregnant with The Youngun.  A mercy at the end with the cancer and all, but it sure doesn't make you miss them any less.  The Youngun was her first great - grandchild and she never got to see her.  She did know about her though and that makes me happy.   Such a packrat Grandma was!  I remember once cleaning her freezer out for her.  I found bags of peaches in there that were 20 years old!  Grandma never took a music lesson in her life, but Grandpa bought her an old organ at the sale barn and she could sit down at that thing and play hymns by ear. Complete with chords and everything!  I don't remember Grandma ever sayin' a bad word about anybody.  She was always smilin' and happy. 

Grandma in the background, isn't she lovely!  My sister, me on the floor, who knows what I'm doing...Grandpa laying down.

Grandma, me, my sister
I do remember a time when she got fired up at me.  I was a young teenager, and Grandpa was havin' a bad spell.  I went down to visit them and talk with Grandpa, see what I could do.  Grandma went in the bedroom and said Charlie, Sarah is here and she's gonna have some toast with us.  Now I'd already eaten breakfast and wasn't hungry and was trying to lose weight.  I said Grama, I don't want no toast, I'm not hungry.  I'll never forget her lookin' at me with her eyes blazing......You are gonna eat some toast because I think if you eat Granpa will eat!!  Brother, I ate toast!  LOL! 

She willed my grandpa back from death I don't know how many times.  And then when she got sick, he kept himself going for her.  He was determined not to die before she did.  After she died, he just wilted away.  He pretty much stopped eating.  He was always a big solid man, a good 300 lbs in his prime.  He wasted away down to nothing after she died.  He'd go all day and eat nothing but a chicken leg.  I made a sort of spice bread/fruit cake that he really liked, so I'd make those up for him and he'd eat that.  They had brandy in them and I've never made one since he died.  Still have half a bottle of that brandy in the cabinet. 

Grandpa opening Christmas presents.  This was The Youngun's first Christmas as well as the second Christmas without Grandma..  Left to right...Grandpa, my mom, The Youngun, Dad, cousin L.  Sister 1, me in striped sweater, cousin K, cousin M (white sweater)

So many things make me think of Grandpa and Grandma.........every time I use a pressure cooker.  Every time I make vegetable soup, or cook neckbones.  Everytime I go fishin' or work in the garden, or hear an organ they come to mind.    He and Grandma were such a huge part of my childhood, such good influences on my life.  I like to think of Grandpa up in heaven, sittin' in his old fishin' chair, catching catfish and Grandma playing her organ and waiting for the rest of the family to get there so we can have a big ole Sunday dinner again!  They had a hard life financially and with Grandpa's health, but a rich one in other ways.  I love them both so much and am thankful to have had them in my life for as long as I did.

Till next time..........God Bless!


  1. It makes me remember my Mawmaw and Pawpaw.. They were a big part of our life even though they lived a long ways away. My mawmaw died when i was almost 8 yrs old but I remember her very well. My oldest daughter shares part of her name.SHe is still missed very much. She was loved so much. Pawpaw passed away 4 yrs ago. He is still missed so much. I still have people say I remember them they were the nicest people you could ever meet. They had a dream to move back here when they retired and start an orphange but like so often happens life interfered with the plans....
    But I am reminded of them at the oddest times..
    Love this post it was so sweet..

  2. Very nice post --- memories are a wonderful thing in life! And to share them is even better!

  3. A beautiful post of your grandparents. Thank you for sharing those memories.

  4. Beautiful tribute to your family, thanks for sharing it.

    My Grandparents on my Mom's side were dead before I was born, my Dad's parents were a part of my life, although they traveled a lot in their motor home. My grandpa died when I was only 8 yrs old and my grandma is soon to be 95 yrs old(July) She and I have been penpals for decades, until recently, she can't write letters any longer so now she simply enjoys our letters. My Dad and Cortney are going to AZ over the 4th of July for a birthday celebration for her 95th B-day. I simply can't afford the trip or the time away, so instead send my love and will call her.

    Mike's grandma was dying of cancer when we were dating, so didin't really get to know her but his grandpa( on his Dad's side) was near and dear to our hearts. He lived to see our son born, then was diagnosed with lung cancer, over two years he fought it until he had a stroke, he then gave up and passed away before Cortney was born. He's been gone for 19 yrs, this past March and there isn't a week when we don't think about him or talk about him.
    You were blessed to have your grandparents and keep them alive for your Dd, so she can pass on their story to her family, when the time comes.*wink*
    Thanks again for sharing a bit of your life.

  5. Thank you. It's memories like those that bring happy tears to my eyes. I can't seem to remember too many. Love you. sg

  6. that was such a nice post, made me remember my Nanny and Papaw! I miss them so much, but like you said, glad for the time i got with them

  7. Such great memories to share with Youngun. I was lucky enough to have both sets of grandparents and one set of great grandparents until I was in college! I thought everyone had their grandparents growing up. I found out I was extremely lucky.

  8. Such great memories to share with Youngun. I was lucky enough to have both sets of grandparents and one set of great grandparents until I was in college! I thought everyone had their grandparents growing up. I found out I was extremely lucky.

  9. Very sweet post, and weren't you quite the cute little peanut?

  10. I'm blessed to have my mother's parent's and my dad's mom living and one set of The Husband's living 1/4 mile down the road! My poor children will have a heck of a time keeping all of his grandparents and g-grandparents straight!
    I grew up having my great-grandmother alive as well. She was the neatest person! She was on the first cheerleading squad and the first girl's basketball team! I remember her ALWAYS having Oreo's, Twizzlers, and pecans in candy jars on her kitchen table. She had the most wonderful garden and when she died when I was a freshman in high school I had mom take me to her house before they sold it (it'd been in our family for 4 generations before her) and I just laid in the garden and cried for over an hour. Being young, I dreaded having to sit and talk to her about boring things like school, but in hindsight I wish I'd have spent more time with her.


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