Thursday, August 27, 2009

Grandpas.....don't you just love em!

The only grandfather I ever knew was not related to me by blood. He was the man who married my grandmother when my mother was only five years old. Granddad's first wife died leaving behind a husband and young son. My Grandfather then married my Grandmother who also shared the same name as his first wife, Ida.

Granddad was an immensely proud but gentle man. I never thought of him as anything other than a real grandfather. I never remember him laughing out loud but he always seemed to have a chuckle hiding behind his eyes. He would often spend hours sitting in his rocker playing the dot game, hangman or tic-tac-toe with my brother and I. In the warm, summer evenings Mike and I would run around in the yard while Granddad watched from the porch swing. He would sit with one knee bent resting his foot on the swing and gently pushing it back and forth with his other foot. As darkness encircled us we could only tell he was there by the soft orange glow of his Camel cigarette. He held his cigarette pinched between his thumb and index finger permanently staining them orange from the tobacco. In those summer evenings my brother and I would catch fire flies under Granddad’s direction and put them in jars with little air holes punched in the lid. In the morning the jars would be on the table where we had left them the night before but the lightening bugs would have mysteriously disappeared. So the next evening we would begin our lightening bug round up all over again.

Granddad had a very dry sense of humor and he would tease without so much as a grin. When I was about nine years old he began telling me the story of the monkey-faced boy. He told us about a boy who lived in town and according to Granddad, had the face of a monkey. To make the story even more interesting Granddad said the boy had lured some unsuspecting children to the top of near by Cavanaugh Hill and they were never seen again. No one could prove the monkey-faced boy was responsible for their disappearance so he continued to roam about the town.

Well, this tale of the monkey-faced boy scared the be-jeebers out of me and in spite of my mother's disapproval Granddad told the story every time we came to visit. Then one summer while visiting my Grandparents I was sent to the corner market to purchase a loaf of bread. The walk to the market was uneventful but on the return trip as I leisurely strolled along swinging the bread back and forth, I suddenly felt someone approaching me from behind. I came to a sudden stop and stood frozen in my tracks. I felt the air stir slightly as a bicycle suddenly stopped beside me and a boy leaned down and with his face close to mine said, “Hello.” Everything turned to slow motion as I found myself looking straight into the eyes of who I believed to be, the monkey-faced boy. I let out a blood-curdling scream as the bread flew out of my hands and through the air. I ran straight to my grandparent’s house and never looked back. Hysterically I told my mother and grandmother of my frightening encounter with the monkey-faced boy while my granddad tried to dodge the piercing glares of the two women who were feverishly trying to calm me. For some reason that was the last time I ever heard about the monkey-face boy.


Arkansas Patti said...

Wonderful stories about your Granddad. I envy you for I never knew my grandfathers. My mother's father left via divorce,never to be seen again and my dad's father died when my dad was in college but I really had wonderful grandmothers.
Pretty sure you scared that monkey-faced boy as bad as he scared you.

kenju said...

My grandmother married a judge after she divorced my mom's father, and I knew him much better than my real grandpa. Every time we went to their house, he would say..."Fee, fi, fo, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman" (meaning me). Since I was five years old at the time, and fully American. I could never figure out why he said that. LOL

I would always crawl up on his lap and he'd read the funny papers to me.