Just a few old memories
Remembering my Grandpa.
For some reason, I thought of my grandpa tonight . He was the only adult, I recall ,who lifted me up ( physically and spiritually) and let me sit in his lap ,with my curly dark haired head nestled back against his blue jean overalls. He didn't say much, he just wrapped his big tan arms around me almost ,like you would cradle a puppy, in that tender sweet way.
He would pull out his old railroad pocket watch and flip it open , like a clam shell ,and put it in my hand. I still recall the smooth matte gold finish, so cool and comforting in my little palm ,and the steady tick-tick-tick of the second hand ,as it moved jerkingly and surely round and round and round.
On the 'face' was a picture of a train and I would imagine it steaming and puffing down the rails and sometimes a real train would be passing nearby, shaking the corner china cabinet and bring it all to real life!
Grandpa would squeeze me in and chuckle at the wonder on my face .
We'd sit like that in peaceful silence, and I'd breathe in the sweet scent of cherry pipe tobacco, Old Spice ,and a long day of a good man's sweat ,which seemed to me ,what must be ,the perfect smell of solid kindness .
After a while ,we would catch that alluring aroma of biscuits and gravy ,and Grandma would call us all to supper.
I recall reaching up and hugging on to grandpas neck feeling his rugged bristled cheek against my tender one . I resisted being let go ,and being placed back down on 'solid' ground where I could never be sure where I stood.
I always knew where I stood with him.
I knew he loved me .
He used to tell me , some day that pocket watch would be mine.
Of course ,I never asked about it. When he passed, I knew the real treasure would always be in my heart and that watch was just a ' touch stone ' that revealed ,not what was in his pocket , but it was what he had in that sweet heart of his, that's for sure what I knew really mattered .
It's amazing the soul lessons we learn , as children, and we are not even remotely aware, at the time ,of the learning.
That's the best education there is.
I wish my parents had been in love with one another,(They divorced in my 20's) but marriage, during the great depression, was sometimes , just another way to survive the tough times, and was not so much about 'love'.. If you had all your 'needs' met, then , you were very fortunate.
Mom told me once, she married to get away from this little town of Wytheville. Dad was in the Army, and so she thought she would travel the world, but he decided to get out, after the war ,and became a civilian stationed at Ft Monroe in Hampton (where I was raised ).
Truth is, even now, if you have a roof over your head, running water, clean clothes, a couple meals a day and a way to stay warm in the winter and cool in the Summer, then you are very blessed and better off than 90% of the other humans on this planet!
I recall a lot of love from my grandparents , or perhaps it was the affection they had time to give, that made me feel 'special ' I loved sitting on my grandpas lap and playing with the gold pocket watch, he got from working the rail road. It was just so beautiful to me and amazed me ! I loved the way it closed like a beautiful clam shell and the little tick-tick jerking of the second hand with a picture of a train on the face of it. It was a treasure !
I had an Uncle who worked hard in a lumber yard and lived with us one summer. Every Friday he would give my siblings and I a silver dollar! Gosh! That was special But, my momma made him stop, as she said it would 'spoil' us. My Uncle almost cried , because he loved being able to give us that beautiful gift on his pay day.
I learned an invaluable lesson going through hard times and witnessing others do the same. I learned not to indulge in self pity and always be hopeful that the down times will pass, as they always do! I feel very grateful and blessed to have my life and thank god every day for it. Life is good, even when it's not :)
July 20, 2016
Was thinking about my Granny today and how she , and most country women ,could figure out how to do, just about anything on their own. I was ah my Granny's house one day, when I wa quite small. ( I was a skills little child anyway) and she decided she was going to move some furniture from one room to the oher, and she didn't want to scuff up her wooden floors, and we sure couldn't lift that heavy old stuff. ( furniture was made of real wood back in the day and was meant to stay put ). I had told Granny we maybe should wait for grandpa to come home and she said. "Lord if you wait for a man to help you do something , child ,it ain't never gonna get done ". This seemed mostly correct as grandpa usually went statute to his recliner chair after supper and sat there till bed time. I reckon he figured he had worked enough already.
well Granny asked me to grab a sheet from the linen closet and we comminced to tilting the furniture ,in question, and slipping the sheet beneath it. After this was accomplished , all ya and to do was tug on the sheet like pulling a sled ! Easy peasy !
I have been recovering from shoulder surgery , and today I felt like moving a heavy bench from my back porch to my kitchen , and I did.not want to wait till one of my busy friends took a notion to come over and assist . So, I recalled Granny's sheet method and was so proud of myself when I accomplished this move with ease, that I even got down on my hands and knees and scrubbed the kitchen and porch floors , like a real country woman !
( The dining room set shown, is just like the one my family had when I was a kid in the 1950s . I found it at a yard sale a few years back. Brings back memories )
Every summer my family would come to wytheville to visit my grandparents and I have many fond memories of them all!
Since we're talking bout music,I will share some of those memories.
My Uncle Donnie, who was only a few years older than me (menopause baby , they called him ) had a great love for Elvis Presley and I recall him greasing his black hair and combing it back into that Elvis wave and snarling his upper lip in the same way as the King. He had an old guitar that he would wail on and I recall him shaking his leg and singing out loud and proud ! My brother and I would laugh till we rolled on the floor , but Donnie was actually pretty good at imitating his hero! Its a memory dear to my heart.
I also recall Helen Hunley, Donnie's Mother, cooking something wonderful in the kitchen and humming old gospel hymns to herself. One of my favs was "The Old Rugged Cross". She sang it so beautifully and naturally as though it was just another ingredient in those amazing biscuits she made. Flour, butter, salt and song.
There was a huge contrast between my Moms home place and my Dads. My fathers family were of German and Scottish origin and his mom was very quiet and solemn . I never heard her sing. My father grew up thinking that singing was a dishonor or an arrogance. He believed only people on the radio or on stage had any reason for singing. It was his admonishments , as a child , that caused me to be shy about my voice. I was even afraid to sing in church, would only silently mouth the words . It was a strange and confusing contrast for me to grow up with. But I think this is why I always loved visiting my maternal grandparents , as there was always the unabashed love of music , either on the old radio in the kitchen or the sudden outburst of singing with no shame or embarrassment !
I recall on Sundays the whole family would go out for ice cream and I would always opt to stay home alone. My brother and sister thought I was crazy to pass up ice cream , but the thought of having the house to myself was far more delicious to me ! I watched as the blue and white chevy drove away and out of sight and then I would throw a 45 on the record player and sing my heart out loud and strong to Patsy Cline, Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield and Brenda Lee ! I loved those days alone , just me and the music and the chance to sing for hours as loud as I pleased !
I still love to sing and also have been learning to play guitar for a few years now. I am not a gifted musician by any stretch , but it gives me great pleasure in my solitude and sometimes I even attend a jam. There is just nothing to compare to the joy that music brings to us all !