Do you ever think of your relatives, you know, those who have “gone on to glory”?
I thought about my father’s parents the other day. A few weeks ago their 100th anniversary passed on by. They were married Christmas Day, 1912. She was a cigarette-smoking, Bible-quoting, stern yet fun Virginia mountain girl and he was a guy from the flatlands who had come to the highlands to be the accountant for a mining company.
My folks shipped me off to live with my grandparents for my last couple of years of high school.
Grandma was a storyteller. She would sit in her easy chair smoking her filter-less Raleigh cigarette, watching her soap operas and offering up stories and opinions during the commercial breaks.
“You’ve got a double cowlick on your head, boy,” she told me. “You’re going to be bald when you’re grown.”
My grandma also believed that the wild weather she saw in her last years was because of the rockets we sent into space.
“We’re poking holes in the sky and we’re messing things up,” she would say.
Grandma told the story about the day she and my grandfather got married. After the ceremony they dashed out the door and hopped in their one-horse buggy.
Somewhere in the rush of things my grandfather dropped the reins and the horse took off with them. “I yelled and yelled at him all the way down the road,” said my grandma.
“What’d you yell?” I asked.
“It didn’t matter,” she said, blowing smoke in the air. “He deserved it.”
My grandma yelled at my granddaddy a lot, it might’ve been where I got the notion in my early years that yelling at each other is a perfectly normal part of marriage.
It took me years of real-life experience to learn that a lot of things my grandmother said weren’t true.
Except that thing about my hair.
Grant McGee is a long-time broadcaster and former truck driver who rides bicycles and likes to talk about his many adventures on the road of life.
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