“See ya in the mornin’…
…if the Good Lord’s willin’ and the crick (creek) don’t rise.”
That’s what my Grandad used to say to me in the evenings. Last week, he passed away. We knew the day would come sooner rather than later, but it was difficult all the same. Throughout my years with him, Grandad was known for his quick wit and humorous commentary. He wouldn’t have approved of sadness, he’d rather everyone just laugh in fond remembrance.
His name was “Bill,” but he liked to remind others that his given name was “William Cooper Curtice Butts.” He did this often lest we forget about “Dr. Curtice,” his medical-advice giving alter ego. It seemed a more fitting name for a faux-doctor than “Dr. Butts.” My Great-Grandmother (Nanny) would lovingly respond as such: “Dr. Curtice is a quack! Take his advice and you’re likely to expire.”
Bill was a friendly guy, but his deepest love was reserved for family. The only problem proved to be his aversion to speaking the words and dislike of actual hugs. But he found ways around this minor impediment to rather unique results. My visits with him usually ended with a “See ya, Spud” (not sure how I got the nickname) followed by a weird sort of headbutt (even less sure how that came about.). As he got older, I implemented the Obama fist-bump. Grandad liked to be up-with-the-times after all.
Grandad had a great many “talents”: his big-toe trick (a bizarre little feat that was somehow passed heredically to every continuing generation thus far), no-holds-barred harmonica playing, and the occasional jig that thankfully defied the gravity so nearlingly willing to envelop him. But his favorite ability was his solo singing. For anyone willing to listen, it went a little something like this:
Grandad: “Did I ever tell you about my friend?”
Unsuspecting Listener: “What friend?”
Nanny: “Oh, dear… Now you’ve done it.”
Unsuspecting Listener: “Huh?”
Grandad: “I’ve got-a friend a-named ram-bl-in’ Bob! He used to smoke, drink gamble and rob! He’s in the jail-house nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. (key change) In the jailhouse nowwwwwwww. BUM BUM BUM BUM!”
Nanny: “See? Tried to tell ya.”
Today, I have a pendant around my neck containing some of his ashes. It’s called an “Eternity Ring.” So if you see me hum a few bars of “In the Jailhouse Now” and knock my head on said pendant, you’ll know I’m only saluting my dearly departed Grandad.
After all, the Good Lord’s not always willing, so every once in awhile the creek’s going to rise. But don’t worry, William Cooper Curtice. Spud will keep singing for you.
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