Saturday, June 4, 2016
RIDIN’ WITH GRANDPA
1940 Plymouth Sedan, Internet Domain
A switch in the receding recesses of my memory cells was tripped this week by a headline story about a young boy that called 911 to report his father had ran a red light. He had actually made a right turn on red. Isn’t it amazing how many small incidents and daily routines occur in the course of a life that will forever go without recall? But then there are a chosen few that seem to stay on a shorter leash and occasionally bubble up to the surface. Sometimes it only takes a similar incident to make the connection and transfer an old memory to your present consciousness.
I grew up with a large extended family that included a dozen cousins. Summertime was always filled with sun and fun, with the exception of those boring rainy days when you constantly hassled your mother about having nothing to do. We never had any problem finding something to do outdoors, however, and that’s where I spent most of my childhood days.
My grandpa Davis and grandmother lived next door which was nice. So we grandkids had lots of occasions to interact with them and share the love. That was another time in America as we were transitioning from a rural to an urban society and families still lived relatively close together. The 911 story prompted me to remember a summertime day when a number of us grandkids were riding in the spacious back of my grandpa’s old four door Plymouth sedan. I can’t swear that it was a Plymouth or even what year it was, but that’s the hazy image that still resides in my aging grey matter. I do vividly recall that we had ample room back there to stand up and jump around without the contemporary constraints of seat belts, child restraining seats and child door locks.
My grandpa Davis was literally smoking down one of the grid streets in our small central Kansas town (he always had that ubiquitous Roi Tan cigar poking out the side of his mouth and unfiltered smoking wasn’t a concern, let alone second hand smoke for children). Air conditioning involved rolling down all the windows. As we approached the main thoroughfare that dissected the town he blew right through one of the stop signs that lined every street that intersected the road. Everyone in the car except my grandpa seemed to notice the sign and we all yelled and screamed. He didn’t miss a beat as he took a puff on the shortening Roi Tan and calmly said with a smile, “There’s no cars coming.” He had lived all of his life on farms where you pretty much took a common sense approach to life without the need for governments directing how you moved around.
That memory has also surfaced every once in a while when I hear the story about how “a guy wanted to leave this earth just like his grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep—not like all the people yelling and screaming in the back seat!” And you can bet your bottom dollar that if one of us grandkids had a futuristic cell phone on that long ago summer day, we would NOT have called the police. I do believe that we had a good time telling HIS children though!