Saturday, July 02, 2005

Meme: Five Things I Miss From ...

Meme: Five Things I Miss

I have been tagged by Rebecca Writes with the five things I miss from my childhood meme.

Four of my great-grandparents were living when I was a child. I did not know how fortunate I was to hear stories from people who were born in the 1800s. The grew up with no electricity, no cars, no plumbing, and no guile. We had separate names for each great-grandparent. My mother's grandparents were called granny and gramp on her mothers side and Grandpa Bert and Grandma Bert on her father's side.

1. Granny - I really did not think of them as nicknames or that you would call Granny anything but Granny. She was a sweet woman who worked hard all her life. Her disposition was extremely cordial. She had an eighth grade education but that was considered a complete education in those days. When I came to visit, she would fix me breakfast and joke and joke and joke. Come to think of it, most of the time she made a play on words.

2. Gramp - At times I was scared of Gramp. He was hard of hearing so he only entered a discussion when he had to. His normal work clothes included overalls and a hat. He drank coffee from a special cup and saucer in the morning and had a glass chalice type cup to use at lunch and the evening meal. He smoked a pipe, but only in his living room. I don't think I ever saw him smoke in any other venue. He was a man of habits and routine. But when he did them, they were not boring or routine. Come on now, drinking from a chalice everyday is not boring. I always liked him having his special things.

3. Grandma Bert – Now I was confused why we called Grandma Bert that name. But her name was Roberta. I always like going to her house. She sewed and cooked not only for functional reasons but because she enjoyed it. She always wanted to do the right thing and expected others to do so also. When I think she was in her eighties, raccoons were getting into her corn and eating it at night. She set a trap and the next morning went down with her gun and ended the troublesome raids of her corn patch. She had hominy to make and those 'coons were not going to ruin her plans. Making hominy was one of her signature dishes. It is a lot of work to make but she enjoyed making it.

4. Grandpa Bert – Okay now this is what was confusing, he was called Bert too, but that was because his name was Bert. He was a Methodist minister, a farmer, a veterinarian, a horse handler, a hunter and a professional boxer. Pro boxing was not the same in the early 1900 in Wyoming as it is today. As I understand it we are talking about getting in the ring and winning a few fights. He was a good story teller. I still remember him telling about the fellow who was the first to beat him in the ring. My Grandpa Bert's technique was to wait to get in one good punch that would down his opponent. The fellow that beat him and ended his boxing winning streak studied him over several fights. When he got in the ring, he knew what my Grandpa was going to do and never let down his guard. My Grandpa studied after lunch everyday. He was a self-taught scholar.

5. Fireworks – For me fireworks is something you do, not something you watch. My brother, my cousin and I would get some fire crackers and set them off. Sometimes we would light the whole back and let them go off for a minute or so. At other times we would practice lighting them and throwing them into the air. We would try to get them to explode in mid-air. We would figure out new places to put them and see what would happen. We would put rocks in a pipe and set a fire cracker off in the other end. Even if the rocks traveled two inches we thought we were setting off cannons. Inevitably we would have a conversation about my cousin's birthday coming up just after the forth. He was a little older than me.
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