Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Things My Grandfather Said

There are many times during the day where I will say something to the kids, and they give me blank stares, as if I'm speaking a foreign language. And in a way, I am speaking a language they have never heard before. It is a language made up entirely of sayings, slang and bits of wisdom from my paternal grandfather, Grampa Pete.

When I was in sixth grade, our family moved back to my parents' hometown and we lived exactly two blocks away from both sets of my grandparents. Living that close allowed me a very close relationship with all of my grandparents. This is where I picked up many of Grampa Pete's sayings and use them in my daily life. I am very grateful and fortunate to have had such a blessing.

Of my four grandparents, Grampa Pete was the most talkative. He was outgoing, energetic and a story teller. I always regret not writing down his entertaining stories of his youth before he died. Because now I can only recall bits and pieces of them, which severely decreases their quality. Sometime soon, my Dad and I will get together and try to fill in the gaps for each other.

Along with stories, my Grampa Pete always had an unusual or humorous saying to fit the situation.

Many of these sayings found their way to the golf course. We lived in a small town and our local golf course was never very busy. Many summer afternoons found my Grandpa and I alone on the course when the rest of the town was at work. I got a lot of instruction from Grandpa Pete on the golf course. Instruction about golf and life.

Our outings usually started with Grandpa Pete asking if I wanted to play some cow pasture pool. As we walked around the golf course, I would usually be the first one to complain about how tired I was, carrying our clubs. Grandpa would always answer, "If your tired of walking, you can always run a ways." When he was golfing well, I could expect hear him say, "I'm hotter than a firecracker." Or if he had hit a particularly good shot he would utter, "That just shickles the tit out of me." or "That's a heck of a note."

Sometimes he wouldn't hit such a good shot, but the closest I ever heard him to swearing was, "Son of a biscuit!" or "Crap and Corruption!"

Many other times he would be humble after a good shot and act surprised and exclaim, "Well, I'll be a horned toad!" I love using that one around the kids.

Grandpa Pete was well known and respected in his town. Whenever my Grandpa, Dad and I were together, a few of Grandpa's friends would call us, "The Father, the Son and Holy Ghost." Or if it were just my Grandpa and Dad, they were called, "Pete and re-Pete."

Grandpa Pete also had ways to make kids smile. When we were growing up we were always supposed to wake up, "Bright eyed and bushy tailed." Whenever one of were loudly crying, he would ask us, "What's that song you are singing?" That one always seems to increase the volume at our house.

At one family gathering, Grandpa Pete was visiting with one of my young, ten year old nephews who had a reputation for competition. My nephew offered to flip a coin with Grandpa to see who would get the last dessert. Grandpa Pete agreed and said, "OK, heads I win, tails you lose." My nephew didn't see his mistake until after the coin toss.

My Grandpa also had some funny plays on words. On the way to church potluck dinners, his standard witticism was, "Let's take our pot to church and see what kind of luck we have."

And then, when leaving, he would relate, "Let's go home and see if the neighbors left us any groceries." Which, oddly enough, happened a few times during harvest time due to an over abundance in the neighborhood gardens.

When Lady Di and I were first dating, Grampa Pete accused her of "Blowing smoke up his skirt.", when she was telling him how great I was.

Grandpa Pete holds a special place in our hearts, in that he is Sweet Pea's namesake. They share the same first name. I also call SP by Grandpa's nickname sometimes, when I call her Sweetie Petey or just Petey.

It is impossible to fit in all of Grampa Pete's sayings, since he had so many. We all miss Grandpa Pete. Whether he was "Rough and tough and hard to bluff.", or "Wild, woolly and full of fleas", "It just shows to go" , how much you can learn from someone, just by spending time and talking with them.


LiteralDan said...

He sounds like a great guy, and it's stories like that that make me wish I knew my grandfathers (both died before I was born).

The Father of Five said...

Wow DadStuff... That was a great post!

Grandparents have such a special role to play! I too was particularly close to both sets of grandparents... " Mémère and Pépère" & "Grandma-Grandma and Grandpa-Grandpa".

(Pronounced Mem-a (long a) and Pep-a (long a) - Which is French/Canadian for Grandma and Grandpa... It's a long story, and you can track it down on FOF if you want...)

My Pépère also had some great sayings, and some fun little traditions that made spending time with them so darn special!

Your Grandpa sounded like a GREAT guy!

Anonymous said...

Awesome. It is good you are carrying on the tradition. My Grandma was like that and we all try really hard to remember what funny things she said. Since no one carried it on they are becoming forgotten. Your kids will love you for it one day!

pixie said...

This is such a sweet post! I often find myself quoting my grandma to the kids, but she only spoke Spanish so they REALLY have no idea what I'm talking about!

This post made me miss her! (tear)

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.