To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.”  ~Robert Brault

I like grandpas.  There’s just something so appealing to me about them.  The way they tuck in their shirts and wear their pants high on their waist.  The comb tucked inside their shirt pocket.  The magical way they make their thumb disappear. 

If my paternal grandfather (Pop) were alive today, we would be eating cake and ice cream in celebration of  his 112th birthday. He was born on June 29, 1899, and wanted to live during three centuries.  He didn’t make it to Y2K, unfortunately, he was a long shot from it, passing away in 1976, a month before I turned one.

There is only one picture of us together that I’ve ever seen.  We are lying together on a bed.  He’s on his side, and he’s snuggling me in his arms as my cousin stands beside us.

In my life, I’ve felt a little bit cheated not having the opportunity to know him.  From family stories, I know that he was an upstanding fellow, a fiddle player, a poet, and man full of wit.  He wrote poetry, and my grannie told me once he wrote a poem about the local meteorologist who never could get the forecast correct, and sent it to him.  He read it one night during his weather report.

I have an old cookbook given to me by my grannie.   The” receipts” as they called them, are a collection from the pioneers that settled this part of the country and they call for ingredients like oleo and sour milk.  Towards the back, you can learn how to make salve and stink bait, if the notion strikes you. 

Along with a sweet little recipe for a Happy Day that goes like this:

A little dash of water cold, a little leaven of prayer.
A little bit of sunshine gold, dissolved in morning air.
Add to your meal some merriment, add thoughts kith and kin,
And then as a prime ingredient, a plenty of work thrown in.
Flavor it all with essence of love, and a little dash of play;
Then a nice old book and a glance above complete a happy day.

Shouldn’t we all have a daily dose of that?

There among the yellowing pages of this old cookbook, lies a stained, folded piece of paper.

On one side, in a lady’s writing is an unlabeled list of ingredients for something delicious I’m sure.  Butter, sugar, eggs, chopped nuts, dates, flour, soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, unsweet apples.  Almost sounds like a fruit cake doesn’t it?

And then on the other side, in Pop’s old penmanship is a poem:
My kids aint cute as your kids are
To this I will agree
But you dont have to keep rubbin it in
It hurts me cant you see
But heres one thing boy that is right
and youll admit it too
Im smarter by far and hansomer too
Than a silly nut like you

Happy Birthday Pop! 

And what about you?  Was your grandpa your best friend?  Was he mean?  Did he play the banjo?  Was he smart and handsome?  Could he make his thumb disappear?  Or did you, like me,  miss out?





  1. RB says:

    This was beautiful, brought back lots of memories. He was a special dad and loved his 4 girls much o. Thanks.


  2. Donna H. says:

    Beyond cool, Angel! Finding the “recipe” and the “poem” in granny’s book is just an amazing treasure! I, like you, did not have the opportunity to know either of my grandfathers. My parents were the oldest in their families. they married later than most in those times, and waited nine years for me to arrive, so both my grandpa’s had died before I could know them. My “best friend” up the street when I was little, had the exact grandpa you described … fun, wore suspenders and always had a treat of some kind in his pocket, and could make a nickel appear out of his ear everytime we asked him to!!! I thought he was the best grandpa (and magician) ever!!! He moved away to go to a nursing home as we grew older , but he will always be the grandpa I never had! Thanks for taking me on a trip down memory lane where I hadn’t been for a long, long time;} I’ll be going to bed smiling tonight!
    Until next time .. Donna H.


  3. Lenore Diane says:

    I love how you have something to hold, Angel. That recipe and poem are priceless mementos of your Pop.
    I never met my Dad’s Dad. My Mom’s Dad was fantastic. My vision of him is seeing him in his garden, pulling up orange carrots, while wearing his orange swim trunks. To this very day – orange is my favorite color.


  4. Anne Briggs says:

    What a great and true story! Pop loved you sooo much and would have loved to stay longer! When you were about nine months old, he, being on oxygen and lying in bed, and looking out his window….saw you crawling as fast as you could go, from our back door (where you had escaped down the back yard steps) and heading toward Grannie and Pops back door. He yelled for Emmer ( mama, that’s what he called her) to come quick! When she got there she saw you coming……..with me running right behind you to scoop you up! He was so thrilled by that…….because you knew exactly where you were going and who you were going to see! (You may have been only 8 months old!)


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