My grandfather was amazing! He was very down to earth and forthright. You always knew where you stood with him. To most people he appeared crusty and when he was drinking, downright nasty. I called him Grouch!
I was Grouch's shadow, much of who I am can be attributed to him. He always answered my questions honestly.
I learned how to cook thanks to him. He served me black eggs and I refused to eat them. So he said "If you think you can make them better Girlie, you just go right ahead!" So I did I pulled a stool up the stove and made my own breakfast! From that day forward I always made breakfast for Grouch and I on the weekends!
My older brother (Ugly) and I were the first grandchildren. My aunt and uncles still lived at home. It was a few years later before our cousins were born.
(TO BE COMPLETED AS SOON AS IT STOPS DISAPPEARING ON ME! SHEESH! MAYBE GROUCH DOESN'T WANT THIS STORY TOLD. BUT I'LL BE DAMNED IF A COMPUTER OR A GHOST STOPS ME FROM COMPLETING HIS STORY ...TOMORROW!)
(Attempt to complete this story for the sixth time!)
Grouch was not a perfect man. He was a weekend drunk. It always amazed me how he would be drunk within two hours of leaving work Friday. He drank continuously until suppertime Sunday. By nine o'clock at night he would be sober. I still can't figure that one out!
While drunk my Grouch rambled on and on, day and night! Everyone else ignored him, avoided him, but not me! I commented and listened to his rants. They were mostly about the war. About the atrocities he saw, the depravity witnessed, from both sides. Man's inhumanity. What people sometimes did out of desperation to survive. Mostly I realized the great love he had for me, his family, his country. I once asked him why he had volunteered long before he would have been called. He looked at me and said he did it for me, so that we would never witness, experience the barbarianism of war. He wanted it to end over there, so that we would always be safe. That drunk knew what he was talking about ... you just had to listen. He was my hero!
(Shall we see if seven times is the key?)
Now Grouch was very careful with his money. He reused and adapted anything he could. A perfect example was the time we ran out of washers. We were working on some plumbing when Grouch realized he would need a few more washers to complete the job. he decided to purchase ten. Off to the hardware store we went. Grouch picked what we needed from the bin and went to pay for them. the clerk rang up his purchase and said it would be twenty cents. Grouch complained that it was highway robbery and refused to pay for them. He stormed out of the store with me trotting alongside him to keep up. He went straight to the shop when we got back home. "Girlie, count out twenty pennies" he barked at me, going towards his drill press. I counted out twenty pennies, twice! I handed them to him. He bored a hole into each one, muttering that if he had to pay twenty cents for washers, he would damn well get twenty washers. Grouch bored a hole through each one! We completed the plumbing job with his freshly made washers! We put the leftovers in a jar, ready for the next repair!