The cement is white, making the blinding sun reflect right into your face and the sweat start to bead at your hairline. Texas in the summer…
The parking lot is full of cars for this is the only grocery store around for five miles and he parked all the way in the back.
The handles of grocery bags are cutting into his fingers and he’s carrying three in each hand. It was, of course, his idea to go to the store because he is going to make goulash.
He is breathing hard for he is in his seventies and his strength isn’t what it used to be.
My brother is with him and Bill is walking fast, trying to get to the car where there is air conditioning, and a chance to get out of the blazing heat.
But, the older gentleman stops and tells Bill to wait.
Bill turns around and to his surprise, he watches as a seventy-year-old man, already well into retirement, with sweat sliding down the sides of his face, sets his heavy burden down to pick up a penny on the ground.
He puts it in his coin holder, picks the bags back up, and says, “Okay. I got it.”
He is my granddad. A genius. A hard worker. Son to immigrants from Spain. A survivor of the depression. A college graduate in a time when college wasn’t important. A pharmacist. A husband. A father. A no-nonsense kind of guy who used the word, “hooey” a lot.
For 50 years he served ice cream (Blue Bell only) and medicine to people from a pretty small town in South Texas. His father started the store around 1919 and he kept it going with his brother. It was Granddad’s idea to put the pharmacy in the ice cream parlor. I sometimes wonder if he was the first person to think of it…
A drug store.
It had stools that swiveled. I sat there and swiveled and swiveled and swiveled and ate vanilla ice cream.
Granddad was funny. And he could do magic tricks. And he would empty out the mustard and ketchup bottles, put string in them, and then hide behind the counters, preparing to jump out and “squirt” you.
He LOVED Wil E. Coyote. We would watch those cartoons and half the time I would crack up just because he was laughing so hard. I never really thought they were funny. I don’t know why the coyote kept going after the road runner.
I am an adult now and I would have to say that I find them a lot funnier in my old age. I wonder what that means…
Granddad devoted his life to his parents, his family, and his church.
When we sat down to dinner, he would come around and kiss the top of our heads before we said grace.
And he always said, “Get what you want, but eat what you take.”
Which means -- never take on more than what you can handle. But, if you take it on, then do it well.
God bless him…