My grandfather was a very quiet, modest man.
Other than bragging about his only grandchild’s grades, he was not one to boast.
In fact, he was a man of few words, keeping most of his thoughts and opinions to himself.
Of course, he didn’t get many opportunities to say much. He was married to Granny, after all, and trying to get a word in edgewise with her was a near impossible feat.
If she wasn’t fussing, complaining, or otherwise letting us know what we had done wrong for the entirety of our lives, she was telling us what she did.
Granny was a master at tooting her own horn, and for the most part, Pop let her, even though if anyone else did it, he found it obnoxious.
“Can’t no one else do what I do, Bob,” Granny would comment on occasion. “I don’t get near enough credit for what I do.”
“No, you don’t, Chicken,” he replied.
“You know I was smart enough to be a nurse,” she would tell him. “I bet
I could have been a doctor, if I set my mind to it. I know what’s wrong with
all of y’all just as good as the doctor does now. I am usually the one that
tells the doctor what y’all got. And I know how to treat it.” Granny’s
cure-alls were typically either moonshine or Milk of Magnesia. Sometimes, in
My grandfather, being a wise man, just nodded and agreed with her.
Anytime she did something, Granny let us know about it.
“My recipes are going in the cookbook,” she said proudly one day.
The cookbook was one my school had put out as a fundraiser.
She didn’t realize – or maybe she did –that everyone’s recipes were included.
“I bet mine will be the most popular ones in it,” she continued.
“I’m sure of it,” Pop agreed.
If you had asked what Pop had done with his life, he would have just simply said he had a family and that was it.
But he had done a lot of things he didn’t talk about.
He went to college on a track scholarship before he quit and joined the Army.
He served in World War II.
He had his own successful roofing business up until he couldn’t work any longer because of Alzheimer’s.
But most importantly, my grandfather did something one day that was such a rare occurrence, there should be a day set aside in his honor.
He was married to the Crazy Redhead Prime; and one day, he rendered her speechless. It had never been done before, and I don’t think it was ever done again, at least not to my knowledge.
When she came home, her usual “I reckon –” speech was cut short.
It was one we had heard hundreds of times.
After sewing all day in the plant where she worked, she had to come home and pick up the house and cook dinner for us ungrateful heathens. All we did was sit around and watch T.V. according to her. Never mind the fact I was doing homework and the only reason Pop was there was to watch me after school. Granted, we did have our afternoon soaps on and were eating a liberal amount of candy, but it was far from heathenous.
But this day, Pop had an idea.
“Let’s do something special for Granny,” he said.
“Let’s pick up the paper that is all over the den, maybe even sweep. You can dust.”
I took in a sharp gust of air. “Granny never dusts; it would be the death of us, she says.”
He nodded, knowing good and well the old gal did not believe in dusting as it stirred up her allergies.
“Alright, we’ll pick up the den and sweep. She’s got something in the
crockpot; you think you can make biscuits?”
I nodded. I wasn’t sure what was in the crockpot, but Granny always found biscuits an acceptable side to any meal.
“We’ll have this all ready for her when she gets home. It will be nice for her to come home and just be able to rest,” he said. Then he grinned, a slow, wicked little grin on his tanned face. “And we may get a break, too.”
He was right.
Granny came home to a clean house and dinner that was ready to eat. She had absolutely nothing to fuss about.
He had made her happy. Most importantly, and significantly, he took away all of the reasons she had for complaining.
If that wasn’t something to brag about, I don’t know what was.
But in true Pop fashion, he never said a word.