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Lessons Learned (yeah another remeniscence)

posted 12/6/2010 7:00:01 PM |
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My Grandpa wasn't a very verbal or demonstrative man. He was rather gruff and straight to the point, in fact. That's not to say that you ever had any doubt as to his stance on things. With or without words, he got his points directly across.

The man had the longest reach and most resounding 'Thump' or brain duster as they became known in our family. I recall, very clearly, sitting at the dinner table at their house on Sundays or Holidays and getting in trouble with Grandpa for some infraction of the rules or just generally 'acting up'. Without his bottom coming off his chair he would calmly reach across the table and deliver a calming brain duster to the offending party. This is pretty amazing as his hands were mostly crippled up with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Kids nowadays would probably call Social Services on someone who got their attention in such a manner. It was certainly effective. We sat up, elbows off the table and ate like civilized human beings. Until the next time one of us forgot.

The most severe punishment one ever got from Grandpa was being told to go cut him a Willow switch.

The longest walk you will ever take is from the house to the Willow trees. It was probably only a couple of acres from the house but it seemed like forever when you were walking to and from. You also knew that you had better come back with an acceptable sized switch or you'd make that trip twice.

I only got this punishment from Grandpa twice. I had it coming both times. I'm certain. I don't recall now what I had done.. but it must have been bad. Usually all he had to do was look at you and you settled right down.

After the long walk, you would only get swatted a total of three times, so the swatting wasn't bad. But that walk. I could almost describe every footstep to you. You had a lot of time to consider what you'd done wrong and how you'd not do that again any time soon.

We never felt abused, by the way. Well not more abused than we had coming. We simply knew we had crossed a line and we'd better get it together or suffer the consequences. Grandpa was always fair, though. If more than one participant had been involved, we all got the same treatment.

My Grandpa wasn't just the disciplinarian. He was also the story reader. I recall many times sitting on Grandpa's lap cuddling up and listening to him mangle a story. We had such childhood classics as Rindercella and the Mugly Other, Little Riding on a Red Hood. I believe that my story telling ability may have come from him. I always became enraptured by the story he was telling and hated when the stories were over and it was time to watch Football.

One of the things he always said was, "Is that so?" In a long drawn out, are-you-totally-sure-that's-how-it-happened, tone of voice. So you'd better be sure you had your story straight the first time. He'd see right through you if you didn't get it right. You have no idea how many times I heard, "Is that so, PeeWee?" My pet name from Grandpa was "PeeWee", and he was the only one I'd not kick a hole into for calling me that. I was little and the only Granddaughter so .. I reckon it fit.

My Grandparents had carpet in their living room. Something the rest of us bumpkins didn't have. Grandpa was mostly bald but had a few hairs that would sprout in the middle of his bald spot between haircuts. I used to scuff around the carpeting til I was good and charged and then sneak up behind Grandpa while he was either watching Football or .. you know.. watching football through his eyelids.. then I'd touch one of those tiny hairs and laugh when he'd jump. The static pop would resound. Luckily, he was good humored too, as he never got upset with me for doing it. Or if he did, he kept it to himself.

Grandpa's dinner time prayers, I can recall the usual one, word for word. "Father, we thank you for this food, take it to the nourishments of our bodies and our bodies to thy service. Amen.". But a kid could starve to death waiting for the Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas 'thanks' to be done. And you'd better not get caught peeking or giggling or sneaking a bite either. Or THUMP!, and the prayer would get longer still.

My Grandpa passed away in 1996. He'd been through a couple of surgeries for Intestinal Cancer and he'd said, enough is enough. I recall, a week or so before he passed away, I came to visit him in the Hospital with my own kids. The hospital had moved him from room to room so I jokingly said, next time I come you hadn't better have gone anywhere." He replied, "I can't promise you that, PeeWee.". The last time I saw my Grandpa, he was feeling very bad. His legs were swollen and hurting, he had dressings on his surgery wounds. He was kind of grey skinned and I knew it wouldn't be much longer.

He didn't have much to say, as usual. But we stood at the window and watched a family of sparrows in their nest. It about broke my heart. I knew it would be the last time. And in the midst of his death, there we stood, wondering at the miracle of birth. When I left, he said to me, "I love you PeeWee." I don't remember him ever having said it at any other time in my life. I always knew it.. but I don't remember him having said it.

I'll hold that memory of the baby swallows and my Grandpa forever. And on my wall is a plaque that hung in his house for as long as I can remember. It says, "Sweet clean air from East to West, and room to go and come, I loved my fellow man the best, when he was scattered some." Me too Grandpa. Me too.

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Genesis, the True Story by the Skwirl
My Dearest Baby Brother.,, :P
Merry Christmas and Harpy Nude Rear
The Case of the Ancient Arm Eater
Taz: the little ball of fluff that could. (another pet story)
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I Sold My Soul To Dr. Seuss
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The Infamous Carrot Fiasco, and other stories
Lessons Learned (yeah another remeniscence)
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A Halloween Poem and a note from B9!
A Halloween Story
Good News for me.. bad news for y'all.
Blame that Sweet Spice Girl..
Are You Feeling Adventurous?


post a comment!


Dec 6 @ 7:13PM  
Good read and a Awesome story!!!

Dec 6 @ 7:17PM  
kwirly girl you made me cry. Love ya bunches.

Dec 6 @ 7:24PM  
Grandpa's are special, and so are Grandma's. I loved my Grandparents, and I miss all 4 of them. And yes, I do remember "the walk"...I've had to do that a time or two myself.

Loved this blog...leaving a greenie for you.

Dec 6 @ 7:26PM  
I love your stories.... we should all have memories like you have skwirl!


Dec 6 @ 7:31PM  
Thanks y'all. I have to admit DC that I cried a lil bit while writing it. That end bit took 45 mins cuz I couldn't see nuffin.

We should all have good memories like this.

Dec 6 @ 9:07PM  
You stories are so so to my heart. My family sounds a lot like yours in many ways. I remember that thump on the head and OMG the switch walk and yep do you remember the first time you brought back a dead one Yeah I laugh now I didn't before.

I was in the room when "pap" died. He had diabetes really bad at the end. He was in a coma me and daddy and his sister and husband were there. Pap opened his eyes looked right at me and died. I called mom and bawled couldn't say a word and she said come home. I got lost (mom lived a few streets away from the hospital) That is a day I'll never forget daddy didn't cry where I could see he was busy seeing to me. I think that was the one time we were close.

Thanks for the memories Sammy girl

Dec 6 @ 9:21PM  
Thank you. I think your Grandpa and my Grandma may have been kin.

Two days prior to my Grandma passing, she and I prayed an entire rosary together. As I was walking out of the room, she called my name out. I turned to her and she said "I love you, Crissy" I was 30 yrs old, and had never heard those words from her before. We knew she was dying, and I knew I would never hear them from her again, and I have always cherished that last hour I had alone with her. She taught me how to pray as a little child, and it sure seemed appropriate that our final time was doing what she loved best. Now I am the one that is teary eyed.

Dec 6 @ 10:26PM  
Lisa, Crissy, thanks for sharing. I'm a bit misty again.. sigh. Weren't we lucky to have them though?

Dec 6 @ 10:26PM  
Damn dust in my eyes...because sometimes it gets dusty here, you see...yeah.

Dec 6 @ 11:23PM  
That was a great read.. Brought back some good memories of my grandma.. See she was just like your grandpa... We learned early on with her kids are to be seen and not heard... That though went out the door when she became a great grandma 23 times over...

Dec 6 @ 11:43PM  
Great story, greenie.

Dec 7 @ 2:14AM  
so THATS why you keep telling me to spank yo lil ass all the time huh
da truffs a-comin out now isn't it missy

lucky i lubs ya
now git yo ass on over here.

Dec 7 @ 2:42AM  

Kudos. Your heart-warming story made my heart ache...but in a really good way. owe me a box of Kleenex. I seem to be tearing up a LOT this week...and it seems to always happen while I'm reading one of your special stories.


Dec 7 @ 9:50AM  
Heartwarming. I didn't know any of my grandparents very well but I do remember Grandma 'n Grandpa Mac and the farm and there's a few good memories there.

Kudo kiddo...

Dec 7 @ 11:24AM  
I guess I shoulda issued a tissue alert. I'm sorry. I'll gladly replace the Kleenex.

Know what's weird? When I sit down to write these stories they just flow out of me, I'm always amazed at what I've written when I go to proof-read. Wow, I could not have written this? But there it is.

Thanks for the comments and cookies! I love you bunch..

Tass... bottom prepped and ready to go.

Dec 7 @ 11:33AM  
Another great read. We didn't know our grandfather on my mother's side as she would have nothing to do with him (he was an abuser). My grandfather on my dad's side was always detached and not really interested in the grand kids. Every year my brother and I got a five dollar bill from him for Christmas. Obviously, there is not a whole lot that I can say about Christmas with grandpa!

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Lessons Learned (yeah another remeniscence)