Memories of Grandmother and Granddaddy

I remember my maternal grandfather was a jolly fellow. He loved to joke and sing. Often, he would get up early in the morning and start a pot of soup before breakfast. Then he would cook a big breakfast for everyone. He was in the restaurant business for most of his life. He had a big family. My mother had a sister and three brothers. She told me about waitressing for my grandfather.

One time when I was thirteen I went on a trip with my grandparents. We went to Saint Louis to visit my grandmother’s sister, Helen.  We were sitting around the table after dinner. The conversation turned to which direction the Mississippi River flowed past a point where there was a crook in it so that it flowed north for a short stretch before it turned back to flow south. Aunt Helen had the idea that north was uphill and south was downhill. My grandmother was trying to explain that this wasn’t so.

Every time when she had just about convinced Aunt Helen that there was nothing untoward about the river flowing north for a bit and then curving back around to the south, my grandfather piped in and said something like, “but that would mean that it was flowing up hill.” This would get aunt Helen confused and she would start arguing with my grandmother and my grandfather would sit there and laugh quietly to himself. He did this three or four times before he got tired of it.

The next day we went to see the Gateway Arch. It was newly completed and we rode all the way to the top and looked out the windows. Later we stopped at a Radio Shack. Radio Shack didn’t have nearly as many stores in those days and I had never been in one of them. I got their catalogs in the mail all of the time though. I bought a small audio amplifier kit. When I got home I soldered it together but I must have overheated the transistor. It never worked.

My grandmother was a Superintendent of a school system in Tennessee. She always had text book samples. I loved to read them. I remember one time when I was on spring break and she let me go to work with her. I was impressed with her office.

I started thinking about my grandparents when I realized that I am as old now as they were when I knew them. I don’t feel old. I understand now that they probably didn’t feel old either. Time sneaks up on you. Of course I stand a good chance to live a good bit longer than they did. Our medical science is a good bit more advanced than it was back then. It still makes me ponder my mortality though.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.

Far Out, Man

I first listened to many of the classic rock albums of the late sixties in my cousins room. He was a life guard at the country club. I spent the summer with my cousins while my dad finished writing his dissertation for his Ph.D. We would come home from the pool and do whatever chores there were to be done around the house and then listen to records and hang out in his room.

He had joined the Columbia record club with its introductory offer of around a dozen or so albums for two cents. The catch was that you had to buy a minimum number of albums during the next year. I suppose it wasn’t that bad a deal if you were going to buy records regularly anyway.

He had The Rolling Stones His Satanic Majesty’s Request, Santana Abraxas, Woodstock, Crosby, Stills, & Nash first album and Deja Vu,  and a bunch more that don’t come to mind right now. He had one of those record players that would automatically change records so we put on a stack when we went to bed and they played long after we went to sleep.

It was the summer between my sophomore and junior year. I had long hair and played electric guitar. I considered myself a hippie. I was really just a naive kid. I wanted to rush head long out into the big wide world. Of course there were nasty things out there. We were fighting a war in Vietnam and boys and girls only a couple of years older than me were going off to fight and die, or worse, come home missing parts of their bodies and souls.

I lived a charmed existence. I still do. I’ve learned that we make our own luck. But I still have to admit that I dodged some extremely scary bullets in my life. It was an exciting ride.

Life has slowed down a little. I go to bed early and get up early. Only  because my job requires it. That’s what I tell myself anyway. I still enjoy sleeping in and staying up late. I can’t pull all nighters any more though.

I miss playing rock music with people. I know people that like to play folk and Americana music. I have fun playing that genre but I wish I could find a band that liked to play classic rock. I keep looking but I haven’t found a group yet.

I don’t have enough hours in the day to play in a band on top of work and my writing commitments that I’ve made to myself. Maybe someday when I’ve cut back on the hours of my day job I’ll actively seek out a rock band to play with.

Time passes. The older you get, the quicker it flows. You’ve got to enjoy life while you’re living. Keep your priorities straight and your powder dry.

Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.