Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Climbing out of the dusty old Chevy in the heat of mid-August, I followed Grandaddy into the canopy of tall green corn. He reached for an ear that normally would have been creamy yellow, but instead a purple bubbling mass was erupting from the shuck. That was the first time I ever saw the the large man cry. It was corn blight, and it ruined many a farmer and a sizable seed corn company that year of 1958.
Back in the old gray Chevy, dust floated in the air after Grandaddy seated himself. He never drove fast enough to create much of a breeze, and the slow speed allowed him the time to check out every one's crops on both sides of the road. He would steer toward whatever direction he was gazing, always veering back just before entering the ditch along the narrow road. "I 'spect Marguarette'll have dinner ready bout now" he said. As we turned into the driveway of the house in town, the Maxwell House Coffee can in the middle of the floor board rocked dangerously. It was truly a disgusting thing, serving as a spittoon for God knows how many days of his chewing tobacco. I righted the can on the hump and read aloud "good to the last drop". Grandaddy laughed, making his large round belly shake under his bibbed overalls.
He's been gone for many years, and I still miss him.