Kids these days, I can see where that phrase comes from now that I have kids of my own. The difference in generations, my kids won’t even know what a laptop computer is if tablets and smart phones keep improving. Who knows, they might attend class from home with some sort of holographic projector or form a recliner with their feet kicked up watching the teacher on a pair of “Internet Glasses”. Well Grandpa I know what you mean now!
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When I was a kid, Grandpa and I spent a lot of time working on cars and running our mouths about how engineers did not have mechanics in mind when they designed them. A lot of cars went through Grandpa’s shop. When a car was leaving he would smile and let his hand slide down the rear finder as if he were going to miss it. He was not a full time mechanic, it was more of an added retirement income but that did not stop the neighbors from bringing their junk cars by.
One summer Grandpa decided he was done working on other people’s junk. He had a 1952 Chevy pickup that had been setting behind his shop my whole life. I must have been 12 at the time, 12 or 13, I don’t remember. I was lucky, I was old enough to work on the truck, with guidance of course, but young enough I didn’t have to get a job like my older brother. I was over at Grandpa’s house nearly every day that summer.
Grandma was a fantastic woman. She always had lunch waiting for us when we came in from the shop. She was nice but she didn’t let me get away with things like grandpa did. “Sit up straight,” she told me, and get your elbows off the table. Thinking back, she didn’t let Grandpa get away with anything either. I’m not sure what Grandma did while we were in the shop, but on occasion we could hear her sing. We never turned the radio on. She was just loud enough and always seemed to pick a song that made Grandpa say, “Oh that’s a good one”.
The summer was winding down, we finally finished the truck and it looked brand new. I thought grandpa was going to jump out of his skin when we got in the front seat and buckled up. I will never forget that ride, Grandpa didn’t stopped smiling, he was so proud of that truck.
As the years went by and I tried to deal with the adolescent problems of high school, I was not surprised to hear that he started talking to that ol truck. In fact, I remember hearing him talk to it, I didn’t think much of it at the time. I am pretty sure he named it but I could never get him to admit to it.
I did ask him about it once, about talking to the truck. “Of course,” he said, “I respect her silence, every time I try and talk to your Grandma I get ridiculed for days.”
I guess she did lay into him now and then but it was hard for me to except, I just wanted to pretend that things were perfect, that things were lovely and amazing when you retire. – Continued on Page 2