My daughter Angie once wrote in a comment that she liked reading about my childhood ventures. She most likely got that enjoyment from me. I remember every  tale I have ever been told by my parents, grandparents and even great grandparents.

Until I became a teenager, I spent most every summer with both sets of my grandparents. After a couple of weeks of driving one set crazy they would pack me up and drive the five or so miles to the other one’s house and drop me off.

There is nothing like a fresh grandmother ever now and then.

My Granddaddy Simmons lived about a mile from his own daddy. His name was Enoch, like in the bible.  If you were blood kin to him, you called him Grandpaw. Everyone else called him Mr. Enoch. My granddaddy called him Paw. I always thought it funny my granddaddy calling someone Paw. After all he was older than dirt. Still Grandpaw was even older.

When I was five, he was ninety. He died at ninety-seven the same year I became twelve.

Mr. Enoch was many thing things. Still the one thing he was most was frugal. He wasn’t stingy at all and would give the shirt off his back if was going to be used frugally.

Although he lived to be ninety-seven he never knew the luxury of running water or an in door toilet. He took flour and water and made paste. He then took pages out of magazines and pasted them to his bear walls. This spruced the place up and more important kept the winter wind out.

Any way all that is a story for another day. Grandpaw Enoch always had a little money stashed out. From time to time, a needy person would come by and explain his situation and Grandpa would happily make him a loan interest free.

My Dad told me a story about this old man that I will never forget.

One cold winter day a young man came by and he and Grandpaw sit in front of the fireplace while the young man pleaded his case.

He had a good reason to borrow the money and solid plan on how to pay it back. After his spill, Grandpaw took his pipe and filled it. The young man seeing him do this took out his can of Prince Albert and rolled his self a cigarette.

When Grandpaw finished packing his pipe, he reached and took a splinter from the pile of firewood and held it over the flame until it lit.

He then reached over to light the young man’s smoke.

The young man said, “That’s ok.” He pulled a box of penny matches out of his pocket.

(Penny matches was a small box that held about 25 small matches. The name came from the fact that the whole box sold for only a penny)

“I have a match thank you.” With that, he lit his cigarette.

Thats when my grandpa’s frugal streak kicked in.

“Son if you can afford to waste matches you don’t need to borrow no money from me. Now I am sure you got better places to be. Good day to you.”

Grandpa, lived his life wasting not and wanting not.

The way the story was told to me the boy did not get the loan and my grandpa had little to do with him after that.

The strange part is that grandpaw was right. He talked someone else into the loan and never paid him back. Eventually he burned all his bridges in the area and left.

When I would walk down to see him he always insisted that I take a penny. A penny didn’t buy much even then. Still five visits made a nickel and that was a candy bar.

I am sure he was teaching me a lesson. I only wish I had been a better student.


Explore posts in the same categories: Growing up, June 09, stories

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