A Day In The Life

Talking to a Smart Feller My Grandpa W. was a ha…
October 27, 2006, 12:30 am
Filed under: Family
Talking to a Smart Feller

My Grandpa W. was a handsome man. He was born in 1900 in Chidister, Arkansas. His father was a circuit riding Methodist minister. Grandpa was a lay minister in the United Methodist Church. He knew the Bible better than any person I have ever met. He could quote entire chapters and many of the Psalms. He taught an adult Sunday School class for years and years and preached from the pulpit in the ordained minister’s absence. Grandpa also had a beautiful bass singing voice. He, Mom and I used to sing “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” and “Take My Hand Precious Lord” at church. Grandpa was a carpenter by trade, but he also worked in a grocery store, picked cotton during the Depression years and worked for the Forestry Service until he was well into his 80’s.

Grandpa was also a gardener. He and Grandma planted, raised and harvested huge amounts of all sorts of vegetables. They raised the best corn I have ever tasted and Grandpa was always quite proud of his watermelon harvest. Grandpa rigged up his own irrigation system from his pond to the garden. It was quite an enterprise. Once when I was a little girl, Grandma sent me to the garden to check on Grandpa. Looking back on this as an adult, I figure Grandma really just needed to get me out of her hair for awhile, but as a child I thought I was really helping her keep an eye on Grandpa. When I arrived at the garden, I could hear Grandpa talking. He was standing in his open sided garden shed smoking a cigarette and talking…..but there was no one else there. I asked Grandpa who he was talking to and he replied, “I’m talking to a smart feller.” When I finally made it back to the house, Grandma asked me what Grandpa was doing. I told her that he was smoking and talking to a smart feller. Granny shook her head and said, “That man sure thinks a lot of himself.” I really didn’t understand the humor until I was older, but I sure remember Grandpa talking to that smart feller alot!

Grandpa rolled his own cigarettes. He used Prince Albert tobacco which came in thin red cans. He also saved watermelon seeds from year to year and stored the seeds in empty Prince Albert cans. One year when he was older and his eyesight wasn’t as good as in his younger days, he grabbed the wrong can and rolled a cigarette using watermelon seeds. He didn’t notice what he had done until he tried to light up. He was probably too busy talking to that smart feller to notice the difference in texture between tobacco and watermelon seeds. I can still hear him telling that story on himself. He had a big, booming laugh that encompassed his whole body.

Grandma died in 1987. She and Grandpa had been married over 60 years. In February of 1988, on Grandpa’s 88th birthday, he decided he wanted to fly out to visit with me in Salisbury, Maryland. He had never been on a plane before!! Mom and Grandpa arrived in Salisbury with the remnants of a large birthday cake. The flight crew had surprised Grandpa with a little birthday celebration on the plane. Grandpa was also proudly sporting Captain’s wings pinned to his lapel. During their visit, I took Mom and Grandpa to Chincoteague which is where the picture above was taken. That was Grandpa’s first and only view of the ocean.

Grandpa could be stern and bit gruff. Some of my cousins were afraid of him, but I never was. Underneath the bluster he was just……my Grandpa. He told great stories, bought me Pepsi’s and Moon Pie’s and helped me break up the ground and plant my first garden when he was ninety-one years old. He led a rich and full life and he really was a very smart feller.


16 Comments so far
Leave a comment

This is a wonderful, wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing this story about your smart feller. Aren’t these memories just the best ever?

Comment by gawilli

You know I LOVE HISTORY – especially when it is so personal. A warm and heartfelt tribute to your grandpa.
You were so blessed to have him.

Comment by Anonymous

I love this story…and the airplane ride at 88. I love that the crew took the time to celebrate with him! He must’ve been just thrilled!

Comment by Anonymous

What a great post! I love it! Very well written and heart warming.

From now on instead of talking to myself I’ll be “Visitin’ with a Smart Lady”

Comment by Karmyn R

I love these pictures. And I never tire of hearing the stories of our parents and grandparents experiences. Although we have things much EASIER now, life was much SIMPLER then. Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Anonymous

Now that was a great story….Thanks

Comment by Willowtree

What a wonderful post. Our lives are so enriched through the relationships we have with grandparents. My memories are so fond and I still have my beautiful grandma.. she is about 92 now!

Comment by Devon

What a terrific story. These are my favorite. Real stories, real history that impacted someone’s life. Told firsthand with love and affection.

Comment by Vicki

That is so cool how Grandpa had a birthday party on the plane! ! !

LOL to Karmyn

Comment by Anonymous

*blink blink blink*

Got a little misty there. Your Grandpa seems to have been just as sweet as mine. That was a really nice story. It reminded me just how much I miss mine.


Comment by Anonymous

I wish I could have been more close with any of my grandparents. I loved my grandpa but our relationship was pretty rocky. I have a volotile family.

It seems to me that your family is such a strong unit, which is really cool.

Comment by Angelina

Wow, what a man. Wish I had known him. I’d love to talk with him. (Maybe someday I will ;)) Thanks for introducing us to him.

Comment by Kila

What a beautiful story…I can relate in so many ways…the religious background, raising their own food, rolling the P.A. cigarettes…Thanks for sharing the story…and what a great photo.

Comment by Swampwitch

Okay, have you disappeared on us the way Silly did?

Comment by Anonymous

This is an awesome post. I can see how happy he looks.

Comment by C

Just stopping by to make sure you are healthy! (Hopefully just busy busy!)

Comment by Karmyn R

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