When I was very little, probably about 8, my parents would take me to visit Pop. Pop was my Dad’s Grandfather, and everyone in the family called him that. This was his mother’s father. He was very old in my eyes then, but probably only in his late 60′s then. He and his wife lived in a small duplex that was built as housing for the local factory workers. The house was very neat, but packed with many years of furniture and acquisitions. Pop also smoked a pipe, so the house always had the pleasant aroma of pipe tobacco, and sometimes was a little smokey. For much of my youth I didn’t really understand what a pipe was, or how tobacco fit in. All I knew is that he was constantly trying to light it on fire with paper matches. Perhaps he was smoking those?
Pop had a bit of difficulty walking, and was aided by his classic wooden cane with the big rubber tip on the bottom. He seemed to always be sitting in his overstuffed arm chair in the corner of the living room when we visited. Over his head hung a coo-coo clock. I was fascinated with the coo coo bird, the special whistle he made, and how he bobbed up and down and moved his beak when he warbled.
Of course, no 4 year old can be bothered to wait for the hour to come around, or heaven forbid the half-hour, when the bird only coo-coo’d once. “Pop, can i see the coo-coo?” I would say. Of course, like any good great grandpa, he would always oblige me. But also, like any good Yankee settled in his favorite chair, he wasn’t about to get up if he didn’t have to. He would take his cane, and still seated in his chair, take that big rubber tip, and push the minute hand around to the next hour or half-hour to make the coo-coo come out. Sometimes he would do it several times before my Dad would tell me that was enough for today.Looking back on this now, I suspect that clock was never useful for telling the time. Now satisfied, I would leave the adults to talk, and go off to play with some of the toys he kept on a shelf nearby for me to play with.
Pop passed away when I was in my early teens, and this is one of my fondest memories of him. Thanks Pop for making a small boy very happy!