I was watching a rerun of That 70's Show tonight and a prop jumped out and caught my attention.
a bowl of plastic grapes
(I know, bare with me here)
Immediately I thought of my grandparents. Luckily, I had lots of cousins near my age to play with because at their house, there wasn't a lot to occupy kids. Those plastic grapes were one of the few non-breakable items, so they got a lot of attention.
As I was thinking back to sitting out on their little screened in porch, my vague memories of a little table with the bowl of purple plastic grapes on it, I quickly flashed back to one of my favorite grandpa stories. My grandpa is no longer with us but some of the stories are legendary.
To help set the stage, let me share a bit about him. A WWII veteran, father of 6, grandfather of 16, great grand father of ... whhhooo... 16 (I think and potentially way more to come).
To be completely honest, I was a bit scared of him when I was little. He wasn't a hands on, cuddly type of grandpa. He was typically quiet, taking it all in but he had a deep, gruff tone when he spoke. Typically it was used to reprimand one or more of the 16 of us kids racing through his house. At family parties he had a time limit. Typically after dinner, maybe 7:00-ish he would find a quiet place and dose off sitting straight up in a chair.
As I got older I came to learn of his big heart and sense of humor. As my own dad gets older, I see a lot of similarities (probably too many if you ask my mom). I even start to see some of these traits in myself.
Anyway, one day my cousin Suzanne and I were sitting out on that back porch, probably having recently complained of boredom. I doubt we even noticed our grandpa in the corner. I am guessing we were around 5 years old.
Now Suzanne and I were always a little competitive, all in good fun and never over anything of any importance. For example, this particular day we were sitting out there, next to those grapes bragging about our loose teeth. I do not believe either of us had an actual loose tooth, but we continued to discuss this topic and show each other just "HOW" loose they were.
I can't imagine how long this conversation went on, but I guess it was long enough for our grandpa to wake up and take an interest.
Grandpa: I bet you I can lose all my teeth at one time.
Suzanne and I: Nuh-uhhhhhhhh
Grandpa: Really, I can
Suzanne and I: Nuuuuuhhhhhh-uhhhhhhhh
Grandpa: Do you want to see?
Suzanne and I: Yeaaaahhh
At that moment, with a smirk on his face, my grandpa reached in his mouth and yanked out his top row of dentures, drool and god knows what else streaming along with it. I only have a blurred memory of this sight, partially because I was no older than 5 and partially because Suzanne and I ran out of the room screaming.
I would have loved to hear my grandpa's version of this story, but he probably didn't remember doing it. I think it was probably fun at the moment, but more importantly he successfully regained ownership of his quiet little porch.
Love you, Grandpa. You are legendary.