Say Something Saturday
This one is easy. My dad's father was the best grandfather ever. We called him Pa. Just hearing the word Pa conjures up memories of him and the way he smelled. He smoked a pipe and so he always smelled like pipe tobacco which is a wondeful smell. This was probably a good thing to, because he believed in the philosphy that "what keeps cold out keeps heat out" and so he always wore long pants, long sleeves and suspenders. In summer, I'm sure that pipe tobacco smell was a blessing. He was a very patient man of very few words. He would allow me to walk his property with him and I would imagine that my 6-7 year old self did not stop talking the whole time. He just listened, answered my questions and taught me to appreciate nature. He told me what trees were what, whose farm adjoined his, all about crops. We never saw alot of wildlife (chatter makes them scatter, you know) but if we had, he would have taught me about that too. He showed me the proper way to hoe a garden and wasn't at all annoyed when I only lasted 5 minutes. He showed me how to dig up potatoes and gather eggs. He let us ride his mule. He helped my sister hold the chicken snake he kept in the corn crib. He always reminded me to watch out for chicken poo because I hardly ever wore shoes. He never minded if I picked Ma's flowers. He planted a HUGE garden every year, along with a potato patch and a strawberry patch. AND it was just him and Ma. He was providing food for his ex-daughter-in-law and her children in a way that helped my mom maintain her dignity. I've never had a sweeter strawberry!! (No wonder my mom was able to so lovingly serve him and attend to his needs when he became old and infirm. He had Alzheimer's when it was simply called "hardening of the arteries.")
He had a car, a rambler. It was purple-ish, dusty, dirty and it had a certain smell too. Dirt dobbers nests, farm and fuel. If you aren't from the country, I can't describe it to you-but if you have ever been in an old outbuilding full of dirt dobbers nests-you will know what I am talking about. He never drove anywhere much, so the car did not get used alot. When he did go, he was NEVER in a HURRY. Sometimes our school bus would get behind him and it would make me fume the remarks people would make about my Pa. AND it would embarrass me for him because he was just trying to be safe and keep his car driving well. One morning we all missed the bus and ran to Pa's and he took us to school. It took almost as long as walking would have been, plus we were terribly embarrassed. I'm not sure why we went there in the first place, but we never missed the bus again.
Men like my grandfather are few and far between. He is my ideal man. Strong, silent, patient, happy, loving, nature-loving, smart-he knew everything and an excellent planner. I'm sure knowing him as an older man sort of is unfair-usually by the time we reach a certain age, we have our kinks worked out-but I never saw anything unlovable about Pa. I am very blessed to have been able to spend such huge chunks of time with him.