Steel Clippers by Roberto de La Jolla
Like most people I know, I had two Grand Dads.
The world would be a better place if everyone had caring and loving Grandparents.
Come to think of it I really only remember one of my Grandfathers.
My only memory of William Henry was of him in his open casket, his bald head, the funeral parlor and the overpowering scent of a multitude of flowers.
My mischievous and some times devious brother Tommy made me touch my Grandfather on the forehead or I wouldn’t have remembered him at all. Good one Tommy.
My Mother’s Father was John Joseph and called J.J. by his friends. I just called him Grampa. My family called him Grampa-Two out of respect of William Henry but we seldom called him Grampa-Two in his presence. J.J. lived in Pittsburgh and worked for US Steel; sweating out a living to own a brick house and the “Chrysler as big as a whale.”
Mary Murphy, his Irish Catholic soulmate, never had to work outside the house but she was always sewing. Tiny as she was, she delivered my Aunt, two Uncles and of course “Me Mither.”
On special occasions I visited them in the hills of the Iron City to give my Mom a break from the wildest Indian of our tribe of eight. Grampa was a good man and John Joseph prayed right down on his knees. “Grampa tell me ‘bout the good old days” the words of the song written by an old friend of the family; I’m sure my Grampa inspired the author.
J.J. would stand in front of the mirror brushing his attractive white wavy hair and say”God why couldn’t you have made me rich instead of so good looking?”
Grampa -Two used to cut my hair in the summer and did a great job if you wanted a butch. On the last occasion that he cut my hair to the bone (scalped this wild Indian) I shouted words that demons put in my mouth. My Grama laughed and Grampa laughed and I was in tears.
At present they are all dead and buried and fading memories.
I think I’ll buy “me-self” some steel clippers and learn to cut my grandson’s hair.