I wonder if you are like me in this respect. Sometimes, just one word can send my mind back in time to a memory I didn’t even know about. It’s like the memory is there all along…waiting to come forth when triggered by the right word. That is what happened to me today. Just a word I read from another blogger sent me back to the time I remember spending with my Granddaddy Townsend.
I can not tell you much that is specific about him. The memories I have are more of a feeling. I can remember staying with he and my Grandmother. There was also an aunt who lived with them. He would be gone to his store by the time I would get up in the morning.
His store was a little grocery store in downtown Atlanta. In my mind, it is a corner store. That maybe right or not. But, I do have memories of being inside the store. The picture above shows him behind the counter . I remember the smell of that cigar. The store had a wooden floor and several aisles. There was a meat counter in the back. My granddaddy got his start in business as a butcher in larger stores. Several of his sons followed him into the same business. Being in the store, I remember an upright box of cold drinks on one side…no coke machines. And, he would always go to the box and get Joy and I a YooHoo drink.
Do you know what that is? I think you can still buy them in places…they are a chocolate drink…not milk, just a chocolate drink. But, to Joy and I they were the best things on the world. One of the things you had to do with a YooHoo was SHAKE IT! I think that was part of the fun! About half way through, you would have to put your thumb over the top and try to shake it again because the chocolate had settled. This was before we had the screw on tops. I never remember having one anywhere else than in his store, or his home. When he came home from work at night, he would always have one of those cardboard cartons that hold 6 bottle drinks filled with more of delicious drink!
We were excited! We would have one with supper, and then 2 for the next day….just enough to last till he got home from work again. Though I don’t remember any conversation I ever had with him, just this act shows me that he wanted these 2 grandchildren to feel special. Cause I’m pretty sure he didn’t take a carton of 6 YooHoo’s home for my Grandmother and Aunt!
After dinner, he would go into the den. There was a fireplace and a television and a radio. And, cigars…lots of cigars. It was always hot and funky smelling in the room. Iwould go in and sit on the arm of his chair, but I’d never stay very long. The TV was always on an Atlanta Braves game. And, if there wasn’t a Braves game on TV…there was some game….somewhere….on the radio. And he and Grandmother would sit and listen. Doing nothing, but sitting and listening. I thought it was pretty boring.
I have another memory of him, and it’s just a glimpse. We were in Atlanta with our parents, and we all went to church together…just the main worship service. I can remember that it was a big church. When the ushers began to take up the offering, he leaned over and gave me a $5.00 bill. Wow! This was something very unusual for me. We were very active in church, attending Sunday School and Worship Service, Sunday Night and Wednesday night. Every Sunday morning, Pop would fill out our offering envelope. We would check if we had read our Bible, or studied the lesson or contacted anyone who did not go to church. Then, he would give us some change. We would slip it into the envelope and lick the 2 little dabs of glue and close it up tight. Then it would go into our Bibles to be turned in to our Sunday School teacher. So even though we always took an offering to church…we never got to put money in the offering plate when it would pass in front of us every Sunday. The fact that I had 5 dollars…5 whole dollars, was really a treat for me! There was the offering plate…being passed down the row in front of mine. I could see other bills mounding up on the plate…all wadded up like they wanted to keep it secret how much that piece of green paper was worth. Not me…I was proud that I had a great big ‘ole $5.oo bill. So, I laid it out on my lap and smoothed out all the wrinkles as best I could. I kept on smoothing until the plate got in front of me. I carefully lay my beautiful offering on top of the mountain of other bills. It balanced just so on top, and it gave me such pleasure to see it there. I knew God was looking at that offering, and that He was pleased. I was giving Him 5 whole dollars! Then…TRAGEDY! As I passed the plate to my Mom, the offering blew off the top and landed on the floor. She was not happy. She did not like any kind of disturbance…even if it was an accident. I looked at her…wide eyed and scared. “Get it!”, she said in a tense whisper. I hopped down and got it off the floor and put it in her outstretched hand. She took that beautiful $5.00 bill and folded it! Folded it up tight, I tell you! Then she put it in the plate that Pop was holding and it passed on to many other rows. And, my offering got covered up and mixed in with all the rest. I thought for sure I was going to get a ‘talking to’ after church. But, it was never mentioned. Sometime later, after we were back in Dothan, I asked her why she folded up my $5 when she put it back in the plate. And, she explained to me that we should never be boastful over the things we had. And, we should never flaunt our blessings over anyone else. When we put money in the offering plate it should be done humbly…never proudly. It was a valuable lesson I learned that day.
The last memory I have is when we went to Atlanta to see him in the hospital. I didn’t know that he was very sick with cancer. Just that he was in the hospital. Joy and I were allowed to go up to his room and we went in and spoke to him. We stayed just a minute…gave him a hug….and then we were ushered out. The last image I have of him was of tears running down his face.
I asked Mom later why Granddaddy was crying when we left. And, she explained to me that he was very sad. He knew how sick he was, and that he would not see us again this side of heaven. How sad he really must have been. Not just not to see us, but knowing how close to death he was. He was a good man, and raised a big family…..7 sons and 1 daughter. From what Pop has told me, he always worked hard…with a family that large, he had to.
I so wish that I had more pictures of him. And, I wish that I could remember more about him. I wish I could remember a conversation we had. But, that will never be in this life. I was so young…and never knew him at a time that I would remember. But, these little snitches that I do recall, make me long for more. I think I would have found him very interesting. And, I bet he had some excellent stories to tell.
However, he knew me. And brought me YooHoo drinks. And, made a little girl feel bigger by giving her money for the offering plate. And, he was sad that he would not see us grow up. Sounds like a pretty good guy.
All that……and he gave me my Pop, too!