Grandparents are very special people to children. Grandparents just give children unconditional love—no punishment, no complaints—just love.
Our children were fortunate to have four really grand grandparents, Ralph and Irene Gauvey and Bill and Anna Floyd. Now all four are deceased.
My father-in-law, Willard Floyd, was one of those grandparents. I remember one Friday when my Bill had helped his dad with his Archway cookie route.
We had bought our house less than a year before. It was in pretty good shape except for one spot in the kitchen linoleum which had worn through. It was just a little spot, and we figured we’d be able to replace it by the next year. It wasn’t a real problem unless I got too much water on it when I mopped.
By the time Bill and Pop got back to our house, I was in tears from frustration. Pop thought it was because they were late. Actually it was because I had over watered the spot and it just kept bubbling black gunk on the floor I had just finished mopping.
Pop came into the kitchen and looked at the offending spot. He said, “That’s no problem,” as he took his pocket knife out, and then bent down and cut a huge square out of the linoleum around the spot. I was speechless. That floor didn’t look fixed to me.
Then he said, “Tomorrow morning we’ll go to the store and buy new tile, and by evening you’ll have a whole new floor.” And we did.
He would stop in for a cup of coffee whenever he ran the cookie route in Greenville, and he would share packs of cookies with the kids. One day one of his young grandsons made and gave Grandpa Bill a cup of coffee. “Hey,” Grandpa said, “I need a spoon to stir this.”
The grandson brought him a fork. “How am I supposed to stir with this?” Grandpa asked.
“Turn it over,” the boy answered with a “well-duh” look.
Grandpa turned it over and said with surprise and admiration, “Hmm, he’s right.”
On Grandpa’s birthday one year, the little ones had wrapped a special gift for him. Nobody remembers the gift, but Grandpa never forgot the wrapping. They couldn’t find the gift wrap or the tape, so they wrapped a paper lunch bag around it and stuck it all together with bandaids.
About five years ago Grandpa Bill was here for Christmas Eve along with his buddy Pop Clopp. They were sitting and talking in the living room when Santa Claus arrived by the back door. They both got up to watch the little ones welcome Santa. I was standing behind them.
Grandpa Bill knew that different males of our family served as Santa, so he began to puzzle out who Santa really was.
“That must be Billy,” he concluded just as Billy passed by and answered, “Yeah, Grandpa, what do you want?”
Grandpa looked puzzled and began to refigure, as Pop Clopp shook his head and offered, “Biggest durned Santa I ever did see.”
While Santa continued to pass out presents, Grandpa continued to guess who it was only to be greeted by the guesses each time he chose a likely candidate. And each time Pop Clopp again commented on Santa’s size.
Finally Santa left us as Grandpa Bill counted each of his guesses and figured out who he had missed. “Bob, it has to be Bob,” he announced triumphantly, just as Bob who had returned to the room after changing out of the Santa suit, walked behind Santa and asked, “Yeah, Grandpa?”
Grandpa Bill turned to Pop Clopp in absolute amazement, “You don’t suppose that was the real Santa?”
“Yep,” agreed Pop Clopp. “Biggest durned Santa I ever did see.”
As I said before, our children had four grand grandparents, and they had lots of other senior citizens who were like grandparents to them. They are all gone now. May they rest in peace.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate February 27,2002.