It was a typical ride to work conversation between my husband and me. We frequently talk about topics that range from politics to family issues to work to reminiscing about our childhood. Those chats that allow me to reach back in my memory for those precious little memories are my favorite. We had one of those this morning.
The topic: what do you remember most about your grandparents? Ahhhh, what DON’T I remember? Granny and Gramps (Hamilton-paternal grandparents) lived next door to us on the farm. Grandma Higgins (maternal grandparent) lived in town. I remember always having a special place in my heart, even as a child, for old people. There’s nothing in this world any better than growing up next door to them.
Today I’ll share memories of my paternal grandparents. What I remember most about my paternal grandparents and growing up on a farm in Callaway County:
- Their house always smelled of apples. Granny cooked some nearly every day or so. They would save the peelings on the backporch and Gramps would feed them to the hogs.
- Gramps would sit in his big red chair and peel an apple with his pocketknife. He would always end up with one long unbroken spiral. I was fascinated.
- Granny always churned butter in her Daisy butter churn every afternoon at 4 o’clock. I knew it was every day at 4 because she started running the darn thing during the only 30 minutes of cartoons on TV every day…
- Gramps and his Ford tractor, stenciled and painted with the words “Gramps Special” on the front, running around the farm. I used to get to ride on the tractor with him in ways I am certain would be against the law today. 🙂
- Learning how to cook fried eggs (eggs I had helped gather) standing next to my Granny in her kitchen. I LOVED FRIED EGGS with lots of pepper.
- Granny handing me an empty tin can and telling me to go dig a few worms and we’d go fishing at the pond. She’d wear a big hat and wasn’t afraid to get her hands messy handling her own fish!
- The old 4 door Ford that always smelled kind of funny. My sister Vicki and I were playing with the kittens in the front seat one day, kicked it out of gear and rolled it down the hill till it hit the smokehouse. It knocked it partway off its foundation. No more playing with kitties in the car after that…
- Playing house in their basement with the old iron cookstove and my Granny’s old dishes. Those same dishes now sell for a fair chunk of change on eBay, when you can find them.
- Grandpa telling stories. Lots of stories. Granny complaining that he’d told them a hundred times and it was different every time he told them. Me looking up at him with big eyes, hanging on his every word and thinking he was the most interesting person I’d ever met.
- Granny’s fried chicken. It was the best I’ve ever had and to this day cannot be duplicated no matter how hard I try.
- Grandpa carrying George, his pet black snake, around his neck and completely freaking us out.
- Granny’s pet sow, Patty Pig, who was big, ugly and would chase you round the hog lot with her mouth open and her teeth showing. When I was pre-school age Gramps used to put me on her back to see which one of us would squeal louder, me or the pig.
- Picking blackberries with Gramps every summer.
- Granny listening to the Cardinal baseball games on the radio. It was her passion all her life.
- Playing baseball with Gramps and hating it. He was good—really good and could knock you off your feet cause he threw the ball so hard.
- Granny’s garden was massive and she had flowers all over her yard. She had a bunch of honeysuckle growing all over the back corner of the yard and it was so big I used to crawl underneath and play, completely hidden. As I got bigger I decided I needed more space and borrowed the hedge clippers and cleared out some more room underneath. When Granny noticed the lower half of her honeysuckle was dying off, I was banished and told to find another place to play…
- Gramps was a bee keeper. He had bee hives in the orchard at the far end of the garden. I hated having to go to the garden to help weed or pick veggies because I was afraid of the bees. But, the honey was divine.