Grandfathers.............

Discussion in 'Orangebloods.com's Classics' started by orange turdfrog, Dec 23, 2015.

  1. orange turdfrog

    orange turdfrog Well-Known Member
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    my dad's father died in the mid 30's. My mother's father died when I was 14 and he lived out of town. So, I didn't have a grandfather in my life.
    I always enjoy reading stories about your grandfathers. Please post those special stories about your grandfathers.
     
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  2. HornHammer

    HornHammer Well-Known Member
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    My grandfather was in my life a very special guy.

    I used to go downtown w him a lot, he'd buy me books (a very small downtown before Wal-Mart crushed the downtowns all over those little Texas towns & there were 5&Dimes & soda fountains in the pharmacy) we'd get coke floats & he'd visit w his friends.

    On the porch he'd read the books to me (I'll never forget "Fuzzy Dan" a bowlegged cowboy who's chaps on the front were red & crushed velvet so you could run your fingers across em & Pa'd say ,"how about that!?"

    He (like many in that day) had worked in a sawmill & had lost his right index finger. I remember standing out by his tool shed & asking about it & Pa said "don't worry boy I put it in a Mason jar got it buried right over there by the shed gonna grow me another one!" I was just young enough for a 2nd I was quizzical til my cousins & Pa started laughing.

    If I close my eyes I can still smell the leather in the leather shop where we'd visit & I'd ALWAYS say "Pa! Let's get a saddle!" And he'd say "we better get a horse first son!" ;)

    He died when I was 5 but I'll never forget him...or the love he had for me.

    I still miss him & wonder if I'll ever live up to his legacy. He was THE man!
     
  3. RobertGKemp

    RobertGKemp King of Fake Outrage!
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    Never knew mine either. Mom's pops died long before I was born and Pop's pop had a stroke and was not able to talk or communicate at all. One of the few things in life I wish had been different.
     
  4. TexSays

    TexSays Well-Known Member
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    Mr grandfather on my mom's side was a central Texas farmer and then became a traveling barber. He converted a small mobile home to a barber shop and went around the farming communities to cut hair. Different town each day. I remember going with him and thought we were something special when all his farming buddies would line up for a hair cut.

    In addition, listen to Jerry Jeff Walkers's song, "Pickup Truck Song". That defines my time with him, driving around town.
     
  5. BiggUggly

    BiggUggly Well-Known Member
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    My father was KIA in WWII. My mother's stepfather was the only man in our home and he raised me from birth. I could not have had a better role model. He was a good man who probably allowed me too much freedom, but he was always there (sometimes not in his best interest) for me. The fact that he was a mature adult gave him a perspective that most young fathers lack.

    Taking it from a grandfather's (and great grandfather's) perspective, grandkids are far superior to kids.

    In fact in my next life, I will not have children. I plan to skip that whole generation and just have grandchildren.
     
  6. alrein

    alrein Well-Known Member
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    My grandfather had a sixth grade education. Always self employeed. From playing in a big band in the twenties to running pay pool tables and juke boxes to finally starting his own fishing supply store on the road to the bay.
    He was literally a self made man.
    Very proud to have known him and spent time with him.
    Even prouder of my father.
    I hope I can be remembered the way all other remember both of them. Big shoes to live up to.
     
  7. StrosBros

    StrosBros It's hard work always being right.
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    My mom's dad has been the primary male influence in my life since I was 9. He was there when my dad walked out on my mom and me. He taught me what it means to be a man, a father, a husband, and so much more. I live every day trying to be half the man he was. He worked for Brown and Root or 50 years, before they forced him to retire. He started delivering blueprint all over Houston on his bike at the age of 14 and dropped out of school int he 9th grade to help his mom support him and his 12 brothers and sisters (even though he was the youngest). He taught me about cars, electrical work, home maintenance, small engine repair, being resourceful, not being wasteful, how to make pancakes, how to fry an egg, and that sometimes a glass of water is actually vodka (that was not a good day).

    I will forever be grateful for what my grandfather has done for me. He stepped up when my father decided he had better things to do and by no means did he have to do that. He has gone so far and above any responsibility he has ever had towards me. He has meant so much to my life that I actually changed my last name to his while in law school so that the name he has worked so hard to build will not be laid to rest with him.

    Today he is not in great health and suffering from Alzheimer's. It is hard to watch such a proud man go down such an undignified path. I would give anything to have one more day with that man when he wasn't angry because of his fear and dull because of his disease. Some days I wish he would die not because I wouldn't miss him dearly but because I know he would finally have peace and be reunited with his son.

    This seems to have turned into a "dear diary" entry and for that I am sorry and because of that I will stop here. Good off-season thread OP. I am sure many others like myself have wonderful grandfathers that mean/meant the world to them.
     
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  8. jamimer

    jamimer I'm sorry, I wasn't listening.
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    I lost my grandpa about a year ago to dementia. He went through hell and it taught me (and I have prayed to God) that I want to die of absolutely ANYTHING but that. He didn't know who I was for about two years before dying. Tough, tough thing to watch happen to someone you love. I hope your grandpa's remaining time is as painless as possible.
     
  9. texashero

    texashero a.k.a., “The Raven”
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    My mom grew up in Cincinnati and met my dad at UT back in the ’40s. Her father—Grandpapa, to me—had come from a poor side of the city. I remember him telling me how he and another kid used to have fistfights all the way to school nearly every the morning. He was only about 5-6, but he was stout and very strong. E.g., while he was courting my grandmother (they married in their teens), two big dudes started harassing her on the bus one day, so he knocked one guy out with a single punch, then turned the other one upside-down and started banging his head on the floor of the aisle.

    Despite those stories, I never saw him as anything other than a gentle, patient, caring man.

    Grandpapa never finished high school, but he got an entry-level job at a company in the city and, being smart and detail-oriented, worked his way up the ladder to corporate secretary. We’d visit Cincinnati in summer and at Christmas, and he and I were “buddy-buddies.” He introduced me to the Cincinnati Reds when I was about 5 years old, back when they still played at Crosley Field, giving me my first vivid memories of live sporting events. At one twi-night double-header, I started falling asleep, so he carried me out to the parking lot, tried to navigate over some railroad tracks, busted the oil pan, and we had to wait in a local fire station for a ride. Sure enough, an alarm came in—and this wide-eyed youngster got to watch a bunch of firemen actually come sliding down poles.

    We’d also go on hikes together in the Ohio woods—he’s show me snakes and bugs and birds, warn me of poison ivy. I still hike nearly every day where I’ve settled here in Maine.

    Grandpapa was also very jolly: If you got him started laughing, he’d ha-ha and ho-ho so loud and long that he’d sometimes lose his breath and start hyperventilating, and everyone’s merriment would turn to concern—like the time we sat down for Christmas dinner, and he opened a bottle of champaign, and the cork ricocheted all around the dining room before finally dropping right on top of his bald head.

    He was bald, he was plump, he wore wire-rimmed glasses and had a white mustache—essentially, my shorn summer Santa Claus. Grandpapa’s been gone about three decades now. I think of him a lot at this time of year.

    Hook ’em.
     
  10. zafzo

    zafzo Definitely an old
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    Mine was an old school kind of guy that was the poorest of the poor struggling through the depression.

    The things I remember was fishing with him every summer at the lake(my grandparents lived at Canyon Lake). My favorite moments now are two I can specifically think of that I wasn't happy about then.

    I was seven years old, and we were out fishing in the channel of Canyon Lake in his old busted fishing boat. He had just picked up a fancy new fish finder and the depth showed something like 120ft. Now I was on swim team since I was four so I was a very strong swimmer but when you're still seven, 120 ft deep in open water is still a bit scary for a seven year old.

    He ended up running over his anchor line and got it twisted in the prop and he asked me to jump in and untangle it. I obviously said no way. So he proceeds to the back of the boat and asks me to at least come watch so I can direct him. I climbed to the edge to stare over the back and he shoves me in the water and says, "While you're in there playing around, untangle that line." I was so mad but I laugh at it now. I caught a turtle that day and as an apology, he let me keep it in an aquarium at their house. He took care of that damn turtle for about 10 years until he passed away and my grandmother released it back into the lake.

    The other one was a year or two later and I was in trouble for something although I can't recall what. My grandpa always had us pick our own switches. My sister always went for the smallest as did I. But that year I thought I could outsmart him so when he told me to go pick my switch, I spent about half an hour dragging a 50 lb log to the back porch. He laughed and said, "Smart boy but you screwed up because now I get to pick the switch."

    That one hurt.
     
  11. Not Ketch

    Not Ketch Well-Known Member
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    My Grandfather was a pulpwooder in East Texas.

    He knew I loved trains, so he would come pick me up on Saturdays so we could watch them unload his trucks onto the rail cars headed for the paper mills in Houston. Great memories.
     
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  12. StrosBros

    StrosBros It's hard work always being right.
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    Yeah he isn't even to the very advanced stages yet. It is an unfair disease that I wouldn't wish on anyone. Thank you for you kind words.
     
  13. Dogged Horn

    Dogged Horn Well-Known Member
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    I'm like you. My Mother's Dad died when she was 3, and my father's Dad died before I was born. My Mom did have a stepdad, whom we called Pa Pa. He smoked a pipe and had a cow he named Baby Doll. She lived behind his house, and he would milk her and bring the milk pail into the kitchen with the fresh milk at breakfast. We all gagged and said "no thanks".

    I remember when the Russians launched their satellite 'Sputnik' (maybe in 1956), we were at Pa Pa's house in Port Arthur. The whole family was in the front bedroom of that old house looking out the window at Sputnik in disbelief.

    My Mom's Mom had died while she was pregnant with me. We lived across the street from the Houston ship channel at the time in Channelview. The only grandparent I knew was my Dad's Mom, Bessie Holcomb. She had 8 children, had grown up on a farm in East Texas, had very long gray hair, and called us grandchildren her 'dumplin's'.

    Have a merry Christmas and happy new year.
     
  14. jayd78

    jayd78 Well-Known Member
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    Both my grandfathers are still alive, in their 90's and both WW2 vets.

    One during WW2 was sitting pretty in Alaska away from danger. He was there in the cold for 12 months with nothing to do and nothing to see and no woment to flirt with. He was a seargent and was going to get transfered to the South to help train new troops. Though the minute he got back to Cali from Alaska he got a 24 hour pass. As he was walking out they revoked all passes. Then came the biggest mistake of his life he says... Ignoring the passes getting revoked because he was so eager to hit the town and chase the ladies after being nowhere for so long. He told them eff you basically, I earned this and off into the night he went.

    After that they stripped him of his rank and sent him into the front lines in France as we pushed towards Germany. He was the point man with the BAR. He got shot in the ass once, grenade in the ass another, two purple hearts, and the bronze star. Horrific stories of losing all his buddies, pulling bodies over him to live, etc, etc...

    What he saw and went through there changed him forever. My relationship with him was never as close as I was with my other who was a preacher and took me to places like NASA, to see airplanes take off at Bush, etc. But as I grew older I learned more about why that was.
     
  15. BoyBlueTwo

    BoyBlueTwo Snowflake
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    My Granddad made me grilled cheeses sandwiches. He knew I loved them and even if it was thanksgiving all I would eat was one of his grilled cheese sandwiches and he always laughed and obliged. We also watched the Cowboy games together when we could and he would watch Saturday Night Wrestling from the Sportatorium with me on Saturday nights when I was a kid.
     
  16. Hasek

    Hasek Well-Known Member
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    My mother's father died when she was 3, he was a ww1 vet and then a mailman and died of a heart attack on his route. My mother was the oldest of 3 girls and my grandma worked in a GM factory. My father's dad died of a tooth infection before I was born and all I really know about him is he sold moonshine during prohibition. I have two young grandsons now and get a kick out of doing doing simple things with and teaching them. I still remember when the 4 year old connected the dots that I was his dad's dad.
     
  17. orange turdfrog

    orange turdfrog Well-Known Member
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    These are awesome stories.
     
  18. ericg320

    ericg320 Well-Known Member
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    My grandfather, a Texas grad(inducted into the UT Mechanical Engineering HOF 2012) is my best friend. He took me to my first Longhorn game and taught me everything I know about being a man. Unfortunately he's dying a slow death at a nursing home in Austin where it's very hard to get up and see him as much as I'd like with the kids schedules. He lived a few blocks from me in Houston for over 35 years and it's a really tough time for me.

    I'd love to write about all the amazing moments we've shared but I can't at the moment. I just wanted to share how much he means to me with a quick shoutout. I couldn't even read the other (I'm sure) amazing responses. There's nothing in the world like a wonderful grandfather. Love ya Popo.
     
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  19. houstonearler

    houstonearler Well-Known Member
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    My granddad was one of a kind. As busy as he was professionally and in the city of Houston, he always made time for his family. My dad died when I was fifteen. My granddad responded by stepping up into the dad role. I spent countless hours with him at church, sporting events, and at his ranches. When he died in 2004, I had finished law school and started working at a downtown firm just a couple blocks from his office. We would meet in the tunnels for a sandwich 3 times per week. I pretty much worshipped the man. Here is an article the Chronicle ran when he died. He came from pretty humble beginnings as the son of a postal worker:

    Robert Onstead, founder and longtime chairman of Randalls Food Markets, died early Wednesday while on a family vacation in Italy.

    Onstead was in an airport in Sicily awaiting a flight to Rome when he suffered a heart attack. He was 73.

    Onstead's death shocked his family and Houston civic leaders, many of whom had considered him a personal friend for decades.

    "There are very few people who have ever worked as hard to promote, develop and to build Houston as Bob did," Drayton McLane, owner of the Houston Astros, said Wednesday.

    Onstead's son, Randall, had encouraged his father to run for mayor of Houston, an idea that did not appeal to the elder Onstead.

    "He loves Houston," Randall Onstead said. "When he loves something, he fixes it if it's broken, and it gets better under his leadership."

    Personal dedication
    But Randall Onstead added that though his father was best known for the success of his grocery stores and his civic leadership, he considered his father's greatest accomplishment his devotion to his family and Christianity.

    Onstead grew up in Ennis, then a small farming community, south of Dallas. When he was 13, he started working during the summers in his uncle's corner grocery store. Onstead attended the University of North Texas in Denton, married his wife, Kay, and joined the Air Force before moving to Houston and returning to the grocery business.

    "I had applied for med school, and I didn't get in," Onstead said of his career choice in a 1998 interview. "I had one child and another on the way. I decided I'd better go to work."

    Onstead worked for his father-in-law, Blocker Martin, at Randalls Super Valu Stores, a three-store chain owned by Martin. When Martin died in 1962, Onstead and the other owners sold the chain to Hubbard Co.

    Onstead bristled under the new regime, which ran the stores from a distance. He decided he could do better and joined partners Randall C. Barclay and Norman Frewin in 1966 to start a new grocery company.

    They named the company Randalls Food Markets for Martin's old company, not for Onstead's son.

    "He had an addiction to succeed no matter how hard he had to work, and he chose a field that is one of the most demanding," legendary Texas banker Ben Love said of his longtime friend.

    Loving the business
    Those who knew Onstead agree he had a great instinct for the grocery business.
    "It's a penny business. It takes a lot of fanatical attention to detail," said Greg Hassell, a former Houston Chronicle reporter who covered Randalls for 12 years. "You have to love to talk about a can of beans and a loaf of bread, and he had that."

    Onstead refused to sell beer and wine in his grocery stores until 1994, when he conceded that times had changed.

    "I considered the destruction alcohol had brought to so many families, including my own," he said in 1998. Onstead's late father-in-law was an alcoholic. But Onstead relented when people wrote to him to complain about the policy. "People felt like we were judging them if they wanted to buy beer and wine in our stores."

    Onstead's grocery business grew from the original two stores to 114 by the late 1990s.

    During that period, he helped raise five children, Randall, Charles, Mary, Fran Washburn and Ann Hill.

    Washburn died in 1974, at 19, of bone cancer.

    Onstead later became chairman of the University Cancer Foundation Board of Visitors, essentially the board of directors at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

    Civic pride, vision
    Randall Onstead described his parents' 52-year marriage as a model relationship.
    "She really knows how to handle my father," he said of his mother. "My father has a strong personality ... Nobody can get Bob Onstead to change his mind like Kay Onstead, and quickly."

    Onstead is also survived by his brother, Dr. Charles Onstead, eight grandchildren and a 2-year-old great-granddaughter.

    Onstead retired from Randalls in 1998, passing the top job to Randall. The next year, Robert Onstead sold the business to Safeway. Randall Onstead now manages Safeway's Chicago division.

    As he built his business, Robert Onstead also poured his energy into helping Houston diversify economically to survive the oil bust of the 1980s. He started the Houston Economic Council, which later merged with two other organizations to form the Greater Houston Partnership, an organization of local business leaders that promotes Houston. Onstead also served as chairman of the group.

    "Bob Onstead was a pillar of the Houston business and civic community," said Jim Kollaer, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. "His service to the region as partnership chairman in 1990 was marked by vision, optimism and an unshakable faith in Houston and Houstonians."

    When Onstead and Love wanted the Astros to be acquired by local owners, they asked McLane to join them in buying the team.

    "I was shocked," said McLane, who had never thought about getting into the sports business. After the original deal fell through, McLane decided to buy the team on his own.

    A man to be missed
    McLane credits Onstead, a huge Astros and Texans fan, with urging him to get into baseball and supporting his desire to build the new baseball stadium downtown instead of near the Astrodome.
    Friends and family describe Onstead as a soft-spoken man who led by carrot rather than stick.

    "He was real," Chronicle Chairman Emeritus Richard J.V. Johnson said. "He was absolutely what you saw was what you had. There was no guile to him."

    "I'm not sure I've known a more decent, more giving or more effective individual than Bob Onstead," said former Enron Chairman Ken Lay, who worked with him on numerous civic projects.

    Onstead's death stunned his family. Though he had a stent put in one of his arteries six years ago, Onstead was considered healthy by his doctors, and longevity is common in the family.

    He was traveling with his wife, daughter and granddaughter when he died. Funeral arrangements will be announced by Geo. H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home.
     
  20. www67legend

    www67legend Well-Known Member
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    Love these great, touching stories. My dad's father died of tb in 1922 when my dad was 7 - he had been a worker in Dallas at the Adams Hat factory in Deep Ellum. Dad had to get a paper route at age 7 to help his mother, older sister and younger brother. After a couple of years they lost their house in East Dallas, and literally had to move in with neighbors for a couple of years until his mother (my grandmother) could get a job and save some money. He graduated from North Dallas HS in 1932, married my mom who was 2 years younger in 1938, and began their life together. This grandmother died when I was a baby, so I didn't know either of them.

    On my mother's side, she was the baby (by being 17 years younger than her sister) in Memphis. They were so poor, that when my mother was 11, her parents put her on a train to Dallas to live with her older sister and her husband, who raised her through her teen years. She met my dad in high school. Her folks were in Memphis, and we would visit every couple of years, but this grandfather, whose career was as a cooper, had terrible dementia, and I really never knew him before he died. Grandmother was a sweet, funny lady, but she died when I was about 10. I only saw her a few times.

    I have always read and listened with great envy to stories of people with long, rich relationships with their grandparents. I always felt like I missed out on some special memories. Keep 'em coming...
     
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  21. Dogged Horn

    Dogged Horn Well-Known Member
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    Tough time. Sounds like a great granddad.
     
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  22. Dogged Horn

    Dogged Horn Well-Known Member
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    Wow. Very impressive. What a heritage and influence. You are obviously very proud, and rightfully so.
     
  23. Dogged Horn

    Dogged Horn Well-Known Member
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    Great stories. I had an uncle who seemed an awful lot like that anchor story.
     
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  24. Dogged Horn

    Dogged Horn Well-Known Member
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    Wonderful stories. Boy, small town Texas memories are so special: long before their were chain stores (besides Woolworths) and Walmarts. Each town was unique. Anyone remember O.D.'s little burger place down the road from Con Can on the way to Garner State Park? Those were the best cheeseburgers I ever remember eating.
     
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  25. Dogged Horn

    Dogged Horn Well-Known Member
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    Very cool!
     
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  26. Texas2Big

    Texas2Big Well-Known Member
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    My Papaw was Clyde West a cotton picker born at the turn of the century. He grew up between Midlothian and Ovliia Texas. When he was a boy he played on a baseball team made up of his brothers and cousins. They played all over North Texas as the West Boys. He got an offer to play for the St. Louis Cardinals but having just gotten married with a new born daughter (my mother) he turned it down.

    He never owned his own home but worked on the Miracle Ranch in Ovilla as a caretaker and built a home from two old houses that were on the property in the 40's. There he raised 3 kids and 4 grandchildren.

    He didn't smoke or drink and went to the Methodist church every Sunday. He was always at home with his family and never left the state of Texas. Although a quiet man he was always willing to play second banana to my Mamaw Lois West who was one of the funniest woman I knew. They lived and loved each other for over 50 years until he died of a heart attack while tending his garden a place he loved.

    I can remember watching baseball with him on Saturdays and football on Sunday. He took me to my first professional baseball game and to my first Cowboys game. He was a simple poor man who lived a great life full of laughter, family, hard work and joy. He is the man I want to be.
     
    26 Texas2Big, Dec 23, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2015
  27. Dogged Horn

    Dogged Horn Well-Known Member
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    Nice descriptive writing, and memories.
     
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  28. Dogged Horn

    Dogged Horn Well-Known Member
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    Wow. Very special man and memories.
     
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  29. Dogged Horn

    Dogged Horn Well-Known Member
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    Sad. I hope you don't suffer from dementia. My paternal grandmother died in her sleep. My Dad died instantly in front of his fireplace of a brain aneurysm, after hauling a load of firewood (in a wheelbarrow) up the steep hill behind the house on his East Texas farm. I hope to take after them - either one - when it comes time to 'shuffle off this mortal coil'.
     
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  30. Ponyboy75

    Ponyboy75 Well-Known Member
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    All my grandparents were great and lived incredible lives.

    My paternal grandfather was a Texas grad and a federal judge appointed by LBJ, but on weekends he wore overalls and taught me how to fish at Lake Brownwood. He mainly untangled my lines. He used to stick his tongue out a little bit while he was doing it. Something I still do today (and found myself doing while typing this message).

    He was water skiing well into his 70s, and then Alzheimer's got him. Talk about a slow, miserable death, especially for someone who made a living using his brain.

    I miss all my grandparents. They all lived through the Great Depression and WWII. Tom Brokaw was on to something when he called them the greatest generation.
     
  31. Dogged Horn

    Dogged Horn Well-Known Member
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    Amen.
     
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  32. Dogged Horn

    Dogged Horn Well-Known Member
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    God save us from Alzheimer's. He sounds like a great one. Sorry he had to go like that.
     
  33. txlonghorn4x4

    txlonghorn4x4 Bon Vivant and Raconteur
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    My Dad's father dies when he was 19, so I never met him. My mom's father died when I was 9, but I did get to have some pretty cool experiences with him.

    He was a Finnish copper miner from just about as far north in the UP of Michigan you can get. They pretty much lived off the land and he was always hunting, fishing, gardening etc. My mom has eight brothers and sisters, and they all lived within minutes of each other and were always together, except my mom who was the only one to move away.

    Used to love visiting because he'd always take me fishing. We'd follow these little gravel roads back into the woods, and hike what seemed like miles to fish these remote trout streams, always having to carry guns as there were all sorts of bears, wolves, coyotes etc. As a kid in Texas, it always made me feel like I was in the wild frontier.

    They all had camps on Lake Superior, and we'd have these huge bonfires right on the beach and swim and fish in that freezing as water. My grandfather and uncles spent a month each year on Isle Royal hunting and catching as many Lake Trout, Pike, Muskie, Walleye etc. to smoke for the year. If the timing of our visit was right, I'd get to drive his boat out there and help him set up camp. As we were out fishing one night, he told me he enjoyed my company, and hoped I enjoyed his. The way he spoke and then sat there in silence told me all I needed to know. He died a few months later from lung cancer.

    Memories I'll keep with me forever, and I still think that is some of the most beautiful country on earth.
     
  34. houstonearler

    houstonearler Well-Known Member
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    Awesome.
     
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  35. Tokyo2020

    Tokyo2020 Well-Known Member
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    My father's father was the dentist for Crystal City, TX. When I was young, I remember on a few occasions that his poorer clients actually paid him with chickens.

    He had a massive grapefruit tree just outside his back door. One of my favorite memories of childhood was plucking a fat grapefruit off that tree, slicing it in half, and sprinkling on a little sugar before digging in. That was a part of breakfast on many mornings.

    He had a pecan tree, as well - and my grandmother used the fresh pecans to bake holiday pies. My job was to climb high in the tree and shake out the nuts. I loved doing that. But cracking the nuts was a different story. I'd end up with pecan splinters under my fingernails, and eventually came to dislike pecans because of it.


    .
     
  36. venivedivici5

    venivedivici5 Est canis potestatem straverunt
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    My Grandfather (dad's dad - mom's dad died when she was 2) was born in The Ukraine in 1895.
    Desperately poor. Everyone in his village was poor. Serfs, pretty much tied to the land. His father had died when he was young. His older brother left for America a few years before and when his mother died, he was the only one left. The only thing left to him was an old cow. He sold the cow and wrote his brother that he was coming to America. He walked from just south of Lvov, Ukraine to Amsterdam, about 1000 miles, in the winter to catch the boat to America.

    He arrived at Ellis island in April, 1913, just as he turned 18. He had $19 in his pocket. His entry papers at Ellis Island state that he was headed to his brother in Ohio to work in the coal mines. He heard of a place called Kansas City, where he could find work in the slaughter houses. He headed to Kansas and devoted his life to become an American. He enlisted in the Army when WW I rolled around because he heard he could apply for US citizenship in exchange for his service. He was gassed during the Battle of the Argonne Forrest and received a partial disability.
    He was discharged and returned home to start his family. He met and married an immigrant girl and started his family.
    I loved sitting in his lap as a little boy, listening to him talk, fascinated by his wonderful accent.
    He was a fierce patriot, proud member of the VFW. His hate of the communists was legendary. His cousin was a nun back in the Ukraine. Her faith pissed off the communists. She was executed shortly after WWII. He corresponded with cousins left in the Soviet Union. He would read the letters to us with a great sense of sadness. They were so poor and oppressed. This country gave him a happy life that exceeded all his expectations and it pained him that his relatives had so little. He died just a few years before e fall of the Soviet Union. Had he lived, he would have been so happy.
    Boy, I miss him.
     
  37. houstonearler

    houstonearler Well-Known Member
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    Wow. Great story. Thanks for sharing.
     
  38. HornHammer

    HornHammer Well-Known Member
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    Bump (cause I LOVE all these stories!).

    They point to a simpler time!
     
  39. Califashorn

    Califashorn Well-Known Member
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    My grandfather was in the Mexican Revolution. Joined at 14. Pancho Villa would recruit by driving horses through villages equipped with a saddle and a rifle. If you were game you hopped on. He was shot seven times and lived. Two bullets were lodged in his body, leg and forehead. He was a highly respected man in his city. He died at 84. He was an amazing man. Died in 69.
     
  40. jaypena04

    jaypena04 Well-Known Member
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    My grandpa on my dad's side was awesome... We would go to Laredo Texas a lot together... His relatives lived there and I would tag alon with him to the bar.. At 12 he gave my 1st shot of tequila, and got me drunk the rest of the nite.. My dad kept calling my grandpa asking if I was ok.. He kept saying to my dad " I love my grandson and he under my watch don't worry about it".... Great times we spent together, now I'm 38 and I miss my welo...I have a bunch of stories, but this is the 1 I will never forget.. Rip Ramon Pena!!! Love ya
     

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