To my Grandpa Regular.
Over the years, I’ve heard my maternal grandfather called by many names. His given name is Clifford. My Mom has always called him Daddy, even as a grown up woman. The large extended family and the co-workers of 30+ years called him Pap or Pappy. A neighbor family he took under his wing when their own father and grandfather died too young calls him Pee Wee (I think that was also a nickname from childhood).
The great-grandchildren call him Grandpa Boo because he taught them to play Peek-a-Boo.
At church, where he reads Scripture from a big black Bible before the preacher’s message, they call him Brother Clifford.
And I’m sure there are more. Several months ago he told me stories I’d never heard about how during high school he would get up at 4 a.m. every morning to make sorghum molasses. Each customer wanted a different consistency, so he had to cook it precisely according to each order. Kind of like his names.
When he was in the Army, it was as a clerk who stayed stateside. (They must have called him Private Grubbs.) But coming from rural Missouri, his post on the East Coast might as well have been Asia. The black and white photos Grandma has hanging on the wall in her paneled hallway show a trim and dapper fellow. Next to the pictures is a satin wall hanging that says Mother in pale blue calligraphy that always reminds me for some reason of how young he must have been when he sent it back home as a gift. Those who live near him now know he is not one to miss many basketball games at their local school gymnasium, from 5th grade through varsity. For years he has spent hours of the Homecoming weekend frying hamburgers in the food tent. And that kind of faithfulness, I think, is why I always called him Grandpa Regular. He was the grandpa who defined the word.
Happy Veteran’s Day to Grandpa and all the other Veterans!