Is This Where I Get It From?
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Tilt.
Granddaddy hasnâ€™t been around as much in the past 8 or 9 months, but I figure heâ€™s needed elsewhere or maybe heâ€™s simply Â coming Â to me in different Â ways. Â Itâ€™s now been 11 years since he passed, and one of the things I learned from him Â last year was that the Dead can be in more than one place at a time because time and space are different in that dimension.
Still, heâ€™s been on my mind for the past few days.
He was an Aquarius and in so many respects, a classic Aquarius. Always full of ideas, very entrepreneurial. Â As a child, I was always fascinated that he had some new plant or vegetable to grow on his farm Â and sell. His picture was in the local newspapers several times a year for having some ungodly huge cantaloupe or rutabaga that must have been a world record.Â Â He seemed to have all kinds of ideas to bring in streams of income, though Â he was careful with his spending, and even in his late 80â€™s, it wasnâ€™t uncommon for him to carry $1000 in bills in his wallet when he went to town because that was the generation he lived in.Â Â He cleaned up quite Â nicely for church, but no one would ever have confused him with one of the country club set in town.
Tonight, two things Â are Â onÂ my Â mind Â in regards Â to Granddaddy.
First, he spent Â his entire Â life waiting Â to see Haleyâ€™s Comet a second time, often talking about how he hoped to live that long. Â He saw it at the age of 5, in 1910, when it had been a magnificent Â view in the southern Â country- side. Â Then, 76 years later, he finally got his wish to see it a second time, at the age of 81. Â Unfortunately, Â the 1986 view of the comet is said to be the worst in 2000 years. Â I distinctly remember his disappointment. Â Iâ€™m not sure he understood that the view had indeed been fabulous the first time and not Â that he was just remembering Â it that way.Â Â But I do believe he was more excited through his lifetime about seeing the comet again than he was about airplanes, computers, Â men on the moon, or any of the gigantic steps our culture leapt forward in the century he lived.
The other thing on my mind is something Â that Iâ€™m not sure he ever knew that any of us knew about. Â In the years following my grandmotherâ€™s Â death in 1969, he al- ways seemed to have plenty of â€œlady friendsâ€ and could be quite Â the dapper Â old man. He was lonely, he said once, and confided in me that he never would have re- married if heâ€™d known heâ€™d have so much family close by in his last years.Â Â But then, he Â outlived his second wife, too.
There was a side of him I caught a glimpse of through the local gossips. Â They meant it as a put-down, but to me, it Â stirred a deep appreciation for something I donâ€™t think Iâ€™ve seen, ever, in any other flesh-and-blood man.
According to the story, Granddaddy, then in his 70â€™s, was Â â€œcourtingâ€ about Â town. Â One â€œwidow-womanâ€ Â he had his Â eye on was quite the high society bitch, in that way that can happen only in a very small, very Southern town. She was Â one Â of Â the Â bridge-playing socialites in town, and with great disdain and an upturned Â nose, she passed along the story to her friends in town, including a high-society relative of ours, who passed it along to my mother.
Granddaddy had taken a liking to this woman, who was quite beautiful in her 70â€™s, and he was trying to get her attention. One Sunday afternoon, Â he stopped by her house to visit, true to their generationâ€™sÂ style of courting and socializing.Â Â Here, the story diverges.Â Â One says that she was Â home Â and Â rendered Â her decision on the spot. Â The other says that she wasnâ€™t there, found his gift, and rendered Â her Â decision Â to any Â gossip Â in town Â who would listen.
But in either case, he showed up at her doorstep with a Â little Â basket of Â flowers. Â According Â to Â the Â woman, Granddaddy hadnâ€™t brought her expensive Â store-bought flowers Â or Â hadÂ Â them Â delivered Â by Â the florist. Oh, no. Â None of that!
No, heâ€™d picked some wildflowers and left a little bouquet for her.
Yes, common wildflowers. Probably from the roadside. Â Certainly not good enough for her! Â Why, who did he think he was?!
Offhand, I say he was a romantic.