I went home over the holidays to visit my family. My father is 80 and fighting a cancer he can’t win against, but you would never know it talking with him. We reminisced about my grandfather who also succumbed to the same disease many years ago. I have been very lucky. I have always said that I was lucky enough to have the perfect parents. But it was nice to remember someone that was a big part of making half of that couple perfect. I have never forgotten what a great guy my grandpa was. Everyone loved him. And as a grandfather, there was none better. We were always very close to the day he died. I guess my dad had a perfect parent too. It was fun to talk about the crazy little things that I loved about him that really weren’t so perfect. I also learned something new that I didn’t know before.
Fond Memories of a Boomer
I remember Grandpa taking my brother and I down to the Alcazar almost every Saturday morning to sit at the bar and drink Coca Cola out of beer glasses while he hustled a few young guys at a game of Billiards. He was good at billiards! It’s sorta like pool with no pockets. Neither of us could wait for Saturdays to go with Grandpa. Now the Alcazar was a downtown billiards hall and tavern. He would always start off losing until somebody wanted to place a wager on the game. He would then proceed to clean their clock. It wasn’t until many years later, I realized my brother and I just may have been part of the bait! One of the other things I always remember most about him was that he would sneak off to the garage to take a nip from the bottled he had hidden so my grandma wouldn’t catch him. He always said, “Don’t tell your Grandma”. If you knew my Grandmother you also know why he didn’t want to be caught. She was on his case all the time! I have told this story a hundred times when ever we talked about my grandpa. But there is much more.
Grandpa’s Last Bottle!
I was talking with my parents about this, as I have done many times, when my mother (now 79 and the healthiest 79 year old I have ever seen or met) chuckled, went to the kitchen and from the back of the cupboard produced a pint bottle of Paul Jones Whiskey. The bottle was sealed with a tax label and in perfect condition. It was Grandpa’s last bottle.
More to the Story
The rest of the story I didn’t know until just recently. It seems my Grandmother bowled on Friday nights. My grandfather would go every Friday night and buy himself a pint bottle of Paul Jones Whiskey of which he would drink half of on Friday night, while my Grandmother bowled, and save the other half for his trips to the garage the rest of the week. Of all the things I remember about this great guy, sneaking off to the garage to take a swig off his hidden bottle in the garage was one of my fondest.
The Best Part – Hidden for 40 Years
The funny part to me was where they found it. After my Grandfather passed away, my Grandmother bought a new car. I was 17. I bought her old car from her which was five years old but in perfect condition (complete with clear plastic seat covers installed at the factory … an option back then). When my father and mother cleaned out the car, before I got it, under the front seat they found my Grandpa’s last bottle. They never did tell me though. They saved it and it has been hidden in the cupboard of my mother’s kitchen, unopened, ever since 1969 … 40 years ago.
Mom talked about what a real gem my grandfather was to be able to put up with my grandmother for so many years. She said that the entire time she new him she had never known him to ever even appear to be drinking, but, that bottle was a big part of him putting up with my grandma. Then she said I could have Grandpa’s last bottle as long as I would keep it and keep it un-opened. I have it and will proudly display it on the book shelf next to Grandpa’s picture.
My Own Legacy
I now have my own grandson! He is about to be 18 months old. Grandma GiGi and I are privileged to be able to care for him four days per week. He is sometimes a hand full, but he is awesome. There is nothing more precious in our lives! I only hope I can be as important to him as my grandfather was to me.
On the other hand, there is no way that I want be remembered by my grandson for a bottle of Paul Jones Whiskey … a 30 pack of Keystone Light … Maybe! Aluminum lasts forever! Papa B.