I was in North Carolina this past weekend visiting my grandfather. He lives in Williamston. Williamston is located in Eastern North Carolina along the Roanoke River. My family has deep roots in that part of the state and Martin County specifically that goes back 150 years. My grandfather is a great source of information and a direct link to the past. He is a joy to talk to because he has become quite the conversationalist at 86 years of age. He arbitrarily talks about his youth and usually the happiest times of his life. He doesn't talk about past loves, but of past cars. I don't care what question I asked he would always mention the car that he owned around that time. I asked him about the time that he asked for my grandmothers hand in marriage in 1945. He responded with, "I had a green 1938 Chevrolet." He did mention that there was another girl that wanted him to marry her, but he wanted my grandmother especially. He also talked about the best car that he'd ever owned. It was a 1966 Dodge. He said that he paid for it in 8 easy payments from a private owner. I think that he talks about cars so much because he wants to drive again. He hasn't been able to drive since he took a fall and broke his hip. This is very difficult for a man that has spent most of his life behind the wheel. It meant freedom to him and most importantly mobility.
Eventually, he sent me on a mission for his favorite night cap, Early Times Kentucky Whiskey. I was given specific instructions on how to smuggle it in past my aunt and into his bedroom. I know...I was contributing to the dilequency of an elder, but I couldn't say no. Anyway, the mission was succesful and my aunt was none the wiser. He thanked me with a nod of his head and we continued to talk and watch television. I ended that weekend with the usual breakfast that I prepared for him before I hit the road. I made eggs and some good ol' North Carolina sausage with a side of Piggly Wiggly's Butter-Me-Not biscuits with peach preserves. He had his additional apples sauce and glass of milk to wash it all down. He finished his breakfast and said, "Thank ya, boy....that was good." I smiled and told him that I was glad that he enjoyed it. We talked a little after breakfast and he asked me his usual question about how long it would take me to get back to DC. I told him 4 hours and then he talked about the time he made it in 3 1/2 hours back in '67 along with his cousin, H Tom. Anyway, I eventually gathered my things and said my goodbyes. The road back was peaceful and reflective. I thought of my grandfather and how important he is to me. I also thought about how much he has influenced me as a man. I feel like I owe him so much; especially since I never gave him back the change from the bottle of Early Times Whiskey that I picked up for him.
Monday, August 01, 2005
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