• Various/Onna Carr

Hidden Candies, Corsages, and Life at the Height of a Steering Wheel:  Remembering Grandaddy

Updated: Oct 27, 2019

Post by Onna Carr

I do not have many early childhood memories, but of those I do have, some of my fondest are from my stays at my paternal, great-grandparent's farm in Kansas. This is the story of Grandaddy and his truck. I could tell the tales of Gramsey's red shoes or the millinery paraphernalia brought over by our English ancestors that were in the attic, or I could elaborate on the antique clown cookie jar atop the fridge that produced cookies after years of barrenness, but those tales are for another time, and are other stories. This is the story of Grandaddy and his truck.

When my parents were in college, they decided they needed another vehicle. Being like most college students, they did not have a lot to put into a purchase, so my mother suggested that they look for a vehicle the next time they went home for a visit. They found a truck on their next visit, and promptly christened it "Thor," after the Greek God of Thunder. Why such a name? A turn of the key served as a highly audible explanation because of the sound created by this action. They purchased the truck and took it back to my great-grandparent's farm, where Grandaddy recognized it as his truck from 1959. He sold the truck a few years later to a man who used it to feed his cattle, and then it was passed on yet again to a couple of other owners before my parents purchased the vehicle.

My parents used Thor to carry wood to their house in the country. They enjoyed the vehicle, except for a brief incident brought on by being late for a Christmas party and running over a barbed wire fence pulling off the muffler. A few years later, they sold Thor back to Grandaddy, the truck he had bought new in '59 It did not matter that Thor wasn't as nice as when he purchased it new: Thor ran and that fact was good enough for him.

I was born shortly after Thor returned home to his original owner. Grandaddy used the truck to store his one weakness, Brach's candies, out of the sight of Gramsey. Gramsey had got it into her head that candy was bad for Grandaddy, so to avoid conflict and to still enjoy a sweet treat, Grandaddy would quietly buy a bag of Brach's and stick it in his glove compartment. I always have found this arrangement slightly comical as Gramsey had no trouble with a candy treat for herself, and, though she had to know about the "secret stash," she never mentioned it.

I remember my mother and I riding in Thor's truck bed: golden fields of wheat on either side of the dusty, country road while my great grandparents sat in the cab with my father. A mother's day, rose corsage hung from the mirror of Thor because my Gramsey, Grandaddy's Clara, wore it. I remember being slightly shorter than the steering wheel as I stood and grasped the wheel to "drive" as my father sat behind me, managing the pedals and making sure that I did not run into anything as we came up the drive in Thor to the "Gra-Gras" much-loved farmhouse. I remember Grandaddy--a man outstanding in his field (of wheat): a kind, quiet man who took the time to tickle me, to let me sit in his lap, and to explain things because he was not too busy to play or to just to be.

Though Grandaddy and Gramsey have passed on and their land was sold off, the farmhouse and the outbuildings remain in the family and are being transformed into a hunting cabin. No matter how changed the farmhouse becomes, I will remember the house as it was with the familiar sight of the "Gra-gras" coming out of their front door with Gramsey's trademark floral-print top and "Woohoo" shout and Granddaddy's quiet steadiness as he stood beside her in overalls, waving hello or goodbye: a true Midwest, "Nemaste" of sorts. Though the years pass and we become accustomed to the changes we experience and make, we also remain grateful for the past's blessings as well as for the current time and the future that is ours.

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