Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Luck of the Irish

This morning I ran across a copy of my maternal grandfather's application for the draft completed in 1917. On it he accurately describes his stature as “short and stout”. That tendency, along with a little bit of a dour outlook on life, seems to be what I got from him. But I also got his love and adoration until I was eight years old when he died of a sudden heart attack at sixty-four, a loss I still feel to this day.

Popo ended up getting a deferment from the draft because he listed himself as the sole support of his wife, although Mamo never gave any indication whatsoever that she couldn’t support herself perfectly well, thank you.

I knew Popo was home from work by the smell of his cigar and the small bag of chocolate covered peanuts always stopped at Kresses to buy. He usually left them where I could find them, beside the crystal candy dish on the living room table which was usually filled with some sort of awful crème filled chocolates. I would follow the smell of his cigar to give him a hug, often finding it smoldering in the ashtray on the mantle. A whiff of a cigar can transport me instantly back to his lap, which was ample, as is mine at sixty-four.

Popo was the kind of grandfather who mowed down their entire crop of oxalis when I came in crying after stepping on a bumblebee minding his own business. He was the kindest man I ever knew.

Yesterday when Walker got in the car after work, the kind security guard chucked him on the shoulder and reminded him to wear green tomorrow. He and I pondered what in the world he might own that was green. I suggested checking for a green ball cap, but before I went to bed, I put a bit of green ribbon and a safety pin at his spot where he eats his breakfast.

This morning Walker came down decked out in green socks, green gingham shorts, and his usual work shirt over a green camo tee. That boy doesn’t really need his mom worrying about silly things like wearing green for St. Paddy’s Day. Maybe he got Momo’s sense of being perfectly capable of taking care of himself. I hope so.

I think I'll buy a pot of oxalis today, just a small one, not large enough to tempt the bumblebees.



Ted Daniel said...

I love your stories and observations Janie. I reflect on special times with my grandparents as I read your account. Walker is a very handsome young man! He has his Momma's eyes.

Janie said...

You bring a tear to me eye! Thanks for reading!

Adelaide Dupont said...


That is a great way to celebrate St Patrick's Day.

It was good that the boss said something, and I bet Walker felt part of the action with green everything.

It was also great to read about your grandfather.

Janie said...

Thanks Adelaide. I read your comment while up in the middle of the night, and went back to sleep with a nice glow. I love my readers!