I scanned through that thread about what's allowed on the front page and decided, after scanning the sigs, that this was the best place for this bit of humor. Sometimes, it's just possible that other folks can get a much needed belly laugh out of some 'homegrown' and fairly colorful family history stories like the ones I woke up thinking about this morning. I hope it makes at least a few people smile anyway.
When I was a young lad my family would visit my grandparents on my Dad's side pretty regular. We called my Granddad 'Paw Paw' and my Grandma 'Mamaw". Anyway, Paw Paw owned a parts store and auto-mechanic's garage at County Line, Oklahoma for many years. Paw Paw was a very unique individual and trouble seemed to follow him everywhere he went. For instance, he had a big sign hung up over the counter of his parts store that read "IN GOD WE TRUST. ALL OTHERS MUST PAY CASH". He got in more than one fist fight over that sign, because at the time, store credit was very popular. And truth be told, Paw Paw allowed the 'white folks' to have a little credit from time to time, but he wouldn't extend credit to the 'colored folks'. That was just his way, and you have to realize that this was back in the early to mid-sixties.
Now Dad's a pretty bright fellow and was always trying to show Paw Paw new ways of doing things. But to give you an example of how Paw Paw thought, he truly believed that the ignition system in the vehicles back then was a modern day miracle, and he had absolutely no idea how it worked. He just knew how to change points and plugs and condensors. And he had this condensor tester/charger that Dad bought him so he'd save money by re-using old condensors that tested good. He didn't know how that worked either, but it sure wound up making him lots of money over the years. Well, anyway, he figured out that he could charge up a condensor and set it on the counter by the cash register and have a little fun with nosey customers. I can't recall the number of times we could hear blood curdling screams coming from the shop because of those charged condensors! He really got a big kick out of that.
Well there was a fellow by the name of 'Skeeter' that used to stop in about every day just to hang around and yak. Paw Paw figured Skeeter wasted too much of his valuable time and got kind of tired of it. And everybody knew how scared Skeeter was of electricity. That's how he got his name. So Skeeter walked in one day and Paw Paw was ready for him. He hollered "hey Skeeter, CATCH" and pitched him a freshly charged condendor. WHHEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!! Old Skeeter jumped about four feet off the ground and hit the ground running! He hit that front door and didn't stop running till he got plumb out of sight. And we never did find that condensor. That really agrivated Paw Paw because those condensors were worth about 39 cents! We found out later that Skeeter had wet his britches and almost crapped them too! It took him a long time before he'd ever set foot in that shop again.
Now Paw Paw was a real skin flint and a big beer drinker. Nothing bothered him as much as having to buy beer down across the county line because it didn't just cost him the money for the beer. It cost him propane for the trip as well. He had his old Chevy pick-up plumbed to burn propane because it was so much cheaper than gasoline. So on one of our visits, Dad taught him about homebrew. I can still remember the glazed, stunned, greedy look on Paw Paw's face as he listened to Dad's explanation about how much better the beer was and the fact that it was sooo much cheaper. Well, that's all it took for Paw Paw. Before the end of the day, he and Dad had rigged up a homebrew area in the shop and had picked up a bunch of re-cappable bottles (that's all they had back then) from the closest bar. When us kids got sent to bed that night, Dad and Paw Paw were still messing with the first batch of homebrew, getting it just right. Mamaw wasn't too impressed with all the mess, but to her credit she just kept a stiff upper lip and let it slide.
Well, that next weekend we showed up for a visit again and Paw Paw's beer was ready to be bottled as far as he or Dad were concerned. The only problem was where to store the beer after bottling it. Paw Paw didn't want to put it out in the shop because it got pretty hot in there in the summer time. And besides, he didn't want to take the chance that someone (like us kids) would find it and drink it all up. So he decided to put it in the attic of the house. Since the house was built inside the shop, he didn't figure the attic would get too hot for that homebrew. So they bottled the beer and then put it up in the attic to allow it to carbonate so they could start drinking it. We all went to bed that night and had no idea what was in store for us. Because, sometime during the night, those bottles of homebrew started to bust.
I'm sure Paw Paw didn't give it any thought at the time, but he had put that beer directly over his and Mamaw's bed. Us kids could hear him in the bedroom (as the bottles were busting) telling Mamaw to hush, it wouldn't be a problem. One or two bottles were bound to bust, he assured her. Well, while us kids laid there on the hide-a-bed trying not to laugh out loud, every one of those bottles of beer busted! All 62 bottles!!! Dad finally couldn't stand it any more and went in and turned the light on in Paw Paw's bedroom and hollered for him to get out of bed and quick help him save the rest of the beer! But it was too late. All that beer had soaked through the ceiling tiles and was dripping down on the bed. That ended Paw Paw's hombrewing career. At least until he could get some more bottles and figure out how to make homebrew without Mamaw knowing about it!
I'll quit there for now and if a staff member thinks it should go somewhere else, please feel free to move this.
After thinking about it, I rekon this should go in the members stories area. Could someone move it there for me pretty please? Thanks. The only reason I didn't post it there in the first place is that I get the idea that most of the stories in the members stories area are actually mini books. This ain't no book. But since no one got any belly laughs from it I think it's best to move it. Thanks.
Oh, there'll be more as I remember them Pixmo. My Paw Paw was a real character and that's for sure and for certain. He had a real problem with kids. And he dealt with all of us younguns with an iron fist. Let me work it all out in my head and I'll post some more. I guess since I'm getting older I just remember this stuff as a way to keep myself entertained. A lot of it was hard times and I kid you not. But it's still funny as I sit here thinking about it from my current perspective. It wasn't funny back then though. But I was a kid then, after all.
Ok, here's kind of a short one (or two) I've been thinking about. The BB-gun and the donkey.
I can't remember how old I was at the time (I think I was 6 or 7), but my cousin Jerry (3 years older than me) was visiting my grandparents the same time we were there. He was really cool, and since he was an only child he got pretty much whatever he wanted. Well, it so happens that his Dad had just bought him a brand new Benjamin air rifle and he brought it with him. He and my brother were the same age and they hung out together and I was just a pest to them. So there was no way I was going to get to shoot that air rifle. And it near about drove me crazy with envy! They'd pump that thing up about a bazillion times and shoot turtles in the pond and meadow larks and lizards and cans and anything that would sit still. I had to get my own BB-gun and that's all there was to it.
I started working on my Mom because she was a push-over and always tried to see that us kids had nice things. But she wasn't going for the deal. "Maybe next year, honey". Oh man! I didn't want to hear that. Well, Paw Paw heard about it and next thing I knew a BB-gun had shown up in the shop. He picked it up somewhere in a trade or something or maybe he already had it (I never found out). And being the sneaky peckerwood he was, he just leaned it up against the back of the cash counter, right next to the brownie tin I'd been banned from. I knew it was his, see, and I just didn't know how to act. It seems like just about anything he ever did for us kids had an object lesson that came along with it. There were never any freebies. So he didn't say anything about it either. He just waited to see what I'd do.
Well now, I was a young boy with nothing in particular to do since the big boys didn't want me hanging around with them. Naturally, I just snuck that BB-gun out of the shop and took it out behind the car wash. I had no idea how it worked, but it didn't take me long to figure it out! Before long, I had shot up all the BB's and there I sat. Hmmm.... What to do? Well, I figured that since it was Paw Paw's he'd have more BB's for it. So I did the only thing I could think of. I went snooping around by where I'd found the BB-gun. Paw Paw jumped out from behind the pop machine and grabbed me!!! I was busted!
I figured I was in for a good whipping and just clinched up and waited for it. He started laughing and asked me where his BB-gun was. I told him I'd left it out by the car wash because it was out of BB's. And like magic, he handed me a plastic pouch (if you're old enough, you know what I'm talking about) of BB's and said "there you go boy" and patted me on the head and walked off. I stood there and squirmed a minute or two because I just knew it couldn't be that simple. But I took those BB's out to the car wash and after figuring out how to load them into the BB-gun I got started on my career as the great white hunter. I tried to find my brother and cousin so I could show off but they were nowhere to be found. And I was running out of cool things to shoot so I was actually starting to get a little bored since I was by myself.
Just then, Mom came out the back door of the house and was heading for the wash room to do some laundry. Hah! I remembered how she said I couldn't have a BB-gun and I'd fix her. Yep, you guessed it. I popped her right in the hind end with that BB-gun. Don't ask me why , I was just a kid. Well, she jumped straight up and when she hit the ground she was looking right at me. Then it dawned on me what I'd done and I dropped that BB-gun like it was red hot and ran for the hills as fast as I could go. But her legs were longer and she caught me anyway. Shc carried me kicking and hollering all the way back to the house and sat me down right in front of the big kahuna. Dad, with a capitol D. Well, Dad busted me a good one and then Mom took her turn. And while she was busting me, Paw Paw came in and found out what was going on and after he quit laughing he busted me too. That's about the time Paw Paw figured out that a donkey would be safer for me to play with than a BB-gun. But that's another story.
It seemed like someone always owed Paw Paw some money back in those days. He got involved in all kinds of trades and was always coming into some pretty good deals. At least, until he showed up with that donkey. We were there for one of our ritual weekend visits and were just getting ready to sit down to supper. We heard Paw Paw pull up outside and all of us kids jumped up and ran for the front door to see what he was up to now. Well, he had a donkey in the back of his truck! Now I'd never seen a donkey and I'd especially never seen a donkey up in the back of someones truck. Paw Paw had tied him by the halter to each side of the pick-up bed up front near the cab so he couldn't jump out. He was actually sitting down eating hay when we first saw him. When all of us kids went running out there he jumped up and started hollering Heeeeee haaaawwwwww!!!! Heeeee haaawwwwww!!!! Well, Paw Paw made us kids go back in the house and sit back down to supper and told us not to worry about that donkey. We'd see to him after supper.
So when we were all finished eating, we followed him outside and watched him unload that donkey. I wish they'd had video cameras back then. I've never seen anything so funny or so scary since! He untied one side and then the other and then went to backing that donkey out of the bed of that truck. It went pretty well until he got to the tailgate. There was no way he was going to step down that far to someplace he couldn't see. Especially going bacwards. No sir! So Paw Paw tried to make him turn around so he'd come down frontways first. That donkey made up his mind all of a sudden and jumped right out the side of the truck! And dragged Paw Paw way down by the car wash before he finally stopped. Paw Paw was so mad that he got up and kicked that old donkey right in the hind end. Off that donkey went again, dragging Paw Paw over that oil slick dirt until Paw Paw finally wised up and let go of the rope.
Right about then, Paw Paw figured out that this wasn't working out too well. He hadn't thought about a place to pen that donkey up before he brought it home. But he got some hay and sweet talked that donkey into letting him get ahold of the rope again and Paw Paw tied him up to the back of his winch truck and told us kids to get a bucket and fill it with water for him. Once that was done we all went in because it was going on to dark.
The next morning Paw Paw told us over breakfast that he was going to let us all ride that old donkey. He went on about how much fun we'd all have. See, Paw Paw was always trying to come up with some way to keep us kids busy and out of his hair. And I didn't know it then, but most everything he did wound up backfiring on him and making his life misreable. And if things didn't backfire, he'd usually do something mean to ruin everything for us anyway. But that was just his way and we didn't know any better back then. So sure enough, right after breakfast the next morning, he took us out to where the donkey was tied up and untied him. Then he asked who wanted to be first. My big brother was a knothead and always wanted to go first so he said he'd go. So Paw Paw helped him up onto the back of the winch truck and then helped him get onto the back of that donkey. Things were going pretty good right there at first. Paw Paw gave my brother both ropes and told him what to do to make the donkey go, turn and stop. That donkey seemed to be having a pretty good time but he wouldn't go anywhere. So Paw Paw told my brother to kick him in the belly and tell him 'giddyap'. My brother never got that whole word out of his mouth and he was flying through the air and landed right on his butt. That donkey was jumping and bucking but finally settled down.
Now Paw Paw was hoping he'd be able to turn us loose with that donkey and go get to work in the shop. But things didn't work out that way at all. He got all hard headed and decided that I was going to try it next. Well, what was I going to do? I was just a kid and I just went along with him. But this time, that donkey didn't wait for me to say 'giddyap'. He just bucked me right off and I'd swear I went higher than my brother. But I landed right on my head and don't remember any more of the story. So now you know what's wrong with me.
I guess you could say growing up around Paw Paw was pretty hard on us kids. He went to great lengths to find new ways to torment us and make our lives misreable. At least, that's how it seems to me now, looking back on it all.
Paw Paw loved to fish and drink beer. Those were his two favorite things to do and he usually mixed the two together. And me an my brother loved to fish too. We'd go to Hack's Lake and catch catfish and have a pretty good time. Well, one day Paw Paw got an idea into his head to build a big barge so we could go out to the middle of Hack's Lake and fish in the deep water and maybe catch more catfish. He had all the stuff he needed right there at the shop so he got started and before too long he had a pretty good barge put together. He used a bunch of steel 55-gallon drums, some expanded metal for decking and angle iron for framework and handrails. He even fixed a place to mount an outboard motor so we could go all over the lake.
Well, we took that barge to Hack's Lake one Saturday and it was a real fine day for fishing. Dad and Paw Paw were drinking more beer than they were fishing. But me and my brother made up for it because all we did was fish. We'd been out there for several hours and had a burlap sack about half full of nice catfish when Paw Paw decided he'd had enough and was ready to go back home. Now, he knew that me and my brother didn't know how to swim. So he figured that there was no time like the present to teach us! He grabbed my brother by the seat of the pants and the nape of the neck and heaved him overboard before you could blink! Then Dad did the same to me and Paw Paw started up that outboard motor and they motored back to shore laughing and waving at us the whole time. It wasn't really THAT far back to shore, but to me and my brother, it looked like a million miles. It's a lucky thing that we were both bare footed because otherwise we would most likely have drowned that day. Dad and Paw Paw were pretty drunk and didn't see any harm in the prank they pulled. And all me and my brother knew to do was paddle for shore like our lives depended on it. I sure learned to dog paddle that day I can tell you.
When we finally paddled up to the barge, Dad and Paw Paw pulled us out spluttering and splashing onto the deck of the barge and laughed till they just about cried. Me and my brother weren't hurt any and were just kids so we laughed right along with them. Then we got those catfish and went home to clean them and eat supper. Mamaw was so mad at Dad and Paw Paw that she almost wouldn't let them sit at the supper table once she found out what went on out at the lake. She treated me and my brother like kings and even let us have a second helping of clabbered milk and cornbread! Yep, times were hard around Paw Paw. But it looks like all us kids lived through it. Heck, we might be better off for all the hard times he put us through. Like they say, if it doesn't kill you it can only make you stronger. I think I'll go along with that.
Don't feel too bad CFI. Paw Paw killed himself back in '95 when he was diagnosed with cancer. He had watched Mamaw die a slow painful death from cancer a few years before and he just couldn't handle it. Paw Paw was a very different individual and that's no kidding. I could tell you stories that would curl your hair about that man. He was a 31st degree Mason and he was without a doubt the worst example of a man I've ever had the displeasure to know. But that's all in the past now. I can laugh about the times we had with him when I was a kid now. We have to laugh about the things that were wrong when we were kids, don't we? I'm laughing, and that's a fact. I do miss Paw Paw. But I don't miss the man he was. That's sad, but true. I still have a few good stories yet, so stay tuned. That's one way I can pay tribute to that sorry old bastard. He was my blood, after all.
As we got older, Paw Paw had to find new ways to keep us occupied. When my brother was 15 years old, Paw Paw declared that it was time he learned to drive. He would rather our Dad did it but Dad was always gone and for a while, we were living with Mamaw and Paw Paw. So he and my brother got into his old Chevy Pick-up and took off down the highway.
Now, the highway ran right past the shop and there was a store straight across the highway from the parking lot. And right smack in front of the parking lot, between the lot and highway, was a guy line wire connected to a big power pole with a transformer on it. We were all watching out the front window of the shop and saw the pick-up go by a few times as Paw Paw got my brother used to the controls and traffic patterns. Well, I don't think any of us kids ever heard the whole story, but the last time they were driving by the parking lot, Paw Paw told my brother to pull into the lot for some more practice. My brother was driving at highway speed and didn't even hit the brakes as he turned into the lot! Paw Paw reached over and jammed on the brakes just before the truck hit that guy wire.
I still shake my head thinking about what we saw that day and wonder how they both walked away from that incident. Somehow, my brother had steered the truck so that it was lined up dead center on that guy line wire. The truck must have been perfectly balanced and everything had to be just right for the truck not to flip. As we watched, the truck climed about halfway up that guy line wire and stopped and then slid back down to the ground. Paw Paw just knocked my brother out the drivers side door and scooched over and got behind the wheel and backed that truck off the wire and parked in front of the shop. He got out of the truck and walked in the front door and didn't say a word to anybody. We could all see him shaking as he walked back to the house and dissapeared inside.
A little later, Mamaw went into the house to check on him and then came back and put up the 'closed' sign in the front window of the shop. She told us Paw Paw was hitting the bottle and for us to go find something to do outside until she called us in for supper. My brother didn't get any more driving lessons from Paw Paw after that. He learned how to drive like everyone else. At school.
As us kids got older, Paw Paw took to hiding the keys to all his vehicles from us so we wouldn't get into mischief. He wasn't very inventive with his hiding places though, and we'd usually find the keys if we really wanted to. Well, one day while Paw Paw was gone to OK City we decided to have some fun with his old winch truck. It was the kind that had a flat bed and a big inverted 'V' for a winch boom. My cousin was the oldest, so he got to drive and I had to sit in the middle between him and my brother.
I don't remember too much about what all we did in that old winch truck, but since we knew Paw Paw would be able to figure out we'd been driving it around, we decided that the last thing we'd do is take it down to the car wash and wash it down good for him. If I remember right, we drove that old truck through a corner of the pond and hooked the winch cable to an old wreck and found out just how fast we could haul that thing around the back 40 without hanging it up on anything. Stuff like that. Well, we really got that thing muddy because it almost got stuck in the pond a few times. It was a dually and my cousin figured it would go anywhere and not get stuck. I can remember seeing mud slinging way up in the air as he'd peel out through the pond and the water coming up in the cab floor while we held our feet up to keep from getting all muddy. Just kids having fun, you know.
When we'd finally had about all the fun we could stand, it was time to take it for a good wash and try to park it about where it had been when we started. We did pretty good as far as not tearing anything up that day. At least until we got to the car wash. My cousin decided to do some donuts around the car wash in the muddy and oil slicked dirt. See, Paw Paw would take all the old oil from oil changes and pour it out on the dirt parking lot and surrounding bare dirt that should have been yard. He did that to keep the dust down and because he couldn't think of anything else to do with all that oil. He'd seen the highway department doing it on the dirt roads and figured what the heck. So it was pretty slick stuff.
Anyway, my cousin got to cutting those donuts around the old car wash and I mean he was really holding that footfeed down to the metal! That truck was jumping and lurching and really cutting the dirt!!! What my cousin had forgotten was that the throttle would get hung if you mashed it all the way to the floor. Well, that throttle hung up just like it was supposed to and I guess my cousin got dizzy or something because on the last pass he clipped the corner of the car wash with the front bumper of the winch truck. And I guess it scared him so bad he finally reached down and turned of the ignition and we screeched to a stop. Now that winch truck was built for heavy hauling and the front bumper was made out of some really heavy duty drill stem or heavy pipe of some kind. And it turned out to be a lot tougher than that cinder block car wash. It didn't look too bad at first. The bottom of that corner had blowed out and there was a big pile of cinder blocks sitting out in front of the building. We got out and looked things over and just as we were heading back to the truck, the whole top of that corner fell down and the two walls connected to it fell outward! Not good. We could see that there wasn't much to be done for it so we just went back to the house to wait for our punishment.
Right about then, I was sure glad I was the youngest and not the one behind the wheel of that old winch truck. Sometimes, it didn't suck to be me. Well, when Paw Paw got home from OK City it didn't take him long for him to see what we'd done. The blood and snot flew for a while and after that, we didn't visit Paw Paw very much. I guess we were pretty honrey kids but after all, we'd learned from the best. Paw Paw taught us most everything we knew about meanness up to that point. I guess it's really true that you reap what you sow.
The last story I have to tell about Paw Paw is the hardest. It's been almost a year since I started this thread and now seems like a good time to tell it.
Paw Paw always told me I'd never amount to anything and would wind up digging ditches for a living. He told me if I ever graduated from high school he'd give me a hundred dollar bill. He told me that for years and I never forgot it.
Well, it turns out that when I graduated from high school, me and my family were real poor and needed the money. I graduated at the top of my class and recieved the 'I Dare You Award' and the 'Most Likely To Succed Award' as well. Dad and Paw Paw came to my graduation and took me out to get drunk on hard liquor since I was a man and all. They took me to an old rundown hotel room and we got started drinking Old Milwaukee beer and Jim Beam whiskey. It didn't take long for my tounge to get loosened up and I asked Paw Paw about that hundred dollars. Heh. I quote now and don't mean to be crude... But here's what he said: "**** you you little son of a bitch. You've never been worth a shit and you never will be. If you hadn't asked me about that hundred dollars I'd have given it to you. But now you can just kiss my ass."
Needless to say, I didn't get a graduation bonus. And I learned a lesson about keeping my mouth shut. Dad just sat there and watched and listened and I respected him all the less for that. But I understand now that he was only acting the way he'd been taught to act.
But I got through that and enlisted in the Air Force and made my own way. And when Paw Paw killed himself, it wasn't really a big surprise to me. He found out he had cancer and one day sent his wife to the grocery store to buy hot dogs for a cookout and when she got back home he was dead in the back yard from a pistol shot to the head. I didn't mourn much when I found out. It was his way to take the easiest way for himself and the hardest way for the ones who loved him. He was mean his whole life and he died embracing that meanness. He never changed. I don't miss him and I wish it could be otherwise. I only hope that I'll be missed when I'm gone and that I won't take the easy way out like he did. That's the last Paw Paw story I have for you folks. I never meant to cast a shadow on Paw Paw's memory with these stories. I truly meant to bring him back to life. At least for a little while. I did love him in my own way. I just wish he could have loved me half as much. And then again, I know it just wasn't in him. God bless you Paw Paw. Wherever you wound up.
Wow Max, Glad you have some good memories. And you learned something from him, how not to be.
I can't believe you shot your Momma in the behind! Talk about being bored, and just asking for a whoopin!
A 3 adult whoppin, too.
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Hey Max thanks for posting these stories, they reminded me of some characters I have in my past. They're well written. Did Paw Paw re-marry after his wife died -you mention that he sent his wife to the grocery store then killed himself but earlier you said he watched his wife die of cancer ...just wondering.
Anyway, Merry Christmas, thanks for the stories.
TV in America created the most coherent reality distortion field that Iíve ever seen. Therein is the problem: People who vote watch TV, and they are hallucinating like a sonofabitch. Basically, what we have in this country is government by hallucinating mob. J.P. Barlow
Paw Paw was a womanizer his entire life. He fooled around on my Grandma for years until she died. After that, he'd hunt for any available widow with $$. I lost count of how many women he married and outlived. And I never met his last wife.
Oh thank you for sharing all these wonderful memories. This is exactly the sort of thing I enjoy more than all the rest. Sure we need to prepare and be aware but a commercial break for laughter from time to time sure hits the spot. Please tell more stories as they come to you. It's truly blessed me.
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