The Night After Christmas (Santa’s Yuletide Steam Beer) #62 @ Black Locust Brewing
My daddy loved peaches. On many summer Sunday afternoons we would have a treat to break the hot pre-air-conditioning scorching heat. Sometimes it was cold watermelon–those old watermelons that my mother and grandmother Donie treasured for their thick rind. “You just can’t make good preserves out of these new fangled thin rind melons” I can still hear them recite every time we cut into one of those good old thick rind melons. Some hot Saturday afternoons, we made a trip to the Whing-Dink, for a chocolate dipped cone. But for my dad the greatest treat of all was “ho-made” fresh peach ice cream.
Was it spring or fall? Small children don’t have the sense of the seasons as we older types. I don’t remember it being extremely hot or cold as we all loaded into my dad’s ’47 Plymouth early one morning. This was an adventure like the one the year before when we all went to Jekyll Island for a week. Yet this was somehow different. We did not take my goldfish to Jekyll. Transporting goldfish was tricky, in those pre-ziplock days. My mom picked up the bowl and carefully made a place for it on the back floor of the Plymouth.
When my Dad was young–maybe five or six–his family moved to Memphis, TN. His father, my grandfather, worked as a travelling salesman for the Columbia Ribbon and Carbon Manufacturing Co., and he’s been sent there by the company. I’m not sure why, but they were only there for about a year.
Back in 2002, Dad was telling me about something that happened while he was in Memphis. Maybe it’s the nature of being five, or maybe something significant was changing for him that year. For whatever reason, he said, he thought about Memphis quite a lot.
My Grandma had her own way of seeing the world, her own way of seeing me. I remember her as an unassuming woman—not someone you’d call a philosopher—but she carried inside her a powerful, persistent, and positive way of looking at the people around her; and when I was with her, I couldn’t help but see things—see myself—in the same way, through the secret decoder, held up to the light.
Here are Rolling Stone’s picks for the 500 greatest albums of all time, with a check-box to help me keep up with the ones I still need to collect. Their list is updated from time to time, so I’m working the new in with the old.
My grandfather was a baker–a baker and a deacon. He was many, many wonderful things, but these two roles stand out in my mind. During WWII, he served on a Merchant Marine ship, every day making breads and pies for 80 men. I often imagine my Paw-Paw as a young man, rolling with the seas. What was it like? Were they in danger? He never really talked much about it, and now that he’s gone, I may never learn much more about it.