I was headed to the doctor yesterday when I suddenly was hit with a desire to hang-out with my great grand-father, known to me as ‘Grandaddy’. But it isn’t possible to do that at the moment, since he passed away the first week of my marriage while I was on my honeymoon.
Grandaddy and I used to go mark timber together. He only had two vehicles throughout my childhood, and both were nothing to tell your friends about. One was an old, manual transmission, brown, mini-station wagon looking thing, I think it was a Toyota. The floor board on the driver’s side was falling out of it, but he didn’t care.
The other was a truck, a pretty blue Dodge I believe, older model, maybe circa early 1980’s (It was the early 90’s by the time he got it). I think he only let the brown car go because he had trouble driving stick-shift. It was a running joke (that was to be taken seriously) that once Grandaddy was on the road then you better get off the road. Just park the car and wait til you know he is at his destination before going on your way. We all laughed…fearfully.
I remember hanging out on his porch at his house, sitting in the porch swing, everything made out of wood except the house foundational supports and the porch pillar bases. I don’t remember conversations, just the atmosphere. You just felt at peace there. I loved getting either a cold Coke bottle (one of the old small ones that were about 8 0z) or pouring a glass of water out of one of his two blue-green containers. That was the best tasting water known to man, or at least a little boy. I still like the taste of refrigerated water to this day.
He also kept JuicyFruit gum packets handy. I think the only two choices were spearmint and origional. I am not sure why he had the 25 cent packs, because I never saw him chew any. He always had a King Edwards cigar in his mouth, but never lit. I think he popped one in when first woke up each day and just chewed on it til he went to bed at night.
In my early teen years I could stop by at any time if I saw his truck home. He didn’t care. Usually he would be watching Atlanta Braves baseball on a television that was probably older than me. We didn’t say much. I would come in, pull up a chair, and just watch the game. Occasionally he would ask something about the family or inquire about something that I was up to, but not really anything in-depth, just enough to say, “Hey grandson, I know what is going on in your life and I care.”
He enjoyed seeing me any time I came home once I entered military service. I don’t remember much between getting back from Iraq and then getting married a couple of months later. I do remember heading back to Plantersville and seeing Grandaddy. He said something about how proud he was of me and that he had gotten my letter I wrote to him while deployed. No questions. Just certainty. Just Grandaddy being my great-grandfather and loving me his own way.
I miss my Grandaddy Jiggs.