Saturday, May 06, 2006

Sunday scribblings

My Grandpa had pure white hair. His shirt, pants, and baseball cap were all alike and always kaki colored, he wore them with heavy work boots. The only other thing I ever saw him wear was his suit when he went to church. He always fell asleep in church. He was always working, and if he sat down without doing something or reading he would fall right of to sleep. He was the kind of man who would give you the shirt off his back if he thought you needed it.
Although I never heard him yell, he had a deep voice that scared me more than thunder.

My grandfather used to take youth groups backpacking in Yosemite. Sometimes an adventurous adult or two would join him. I remember one year he had 60 teenagers hiking with him on one trip. Groups that big are no longer allowed to hike in Yosemite. I was 13 the first year I went along with him without my parents. Our group was much smaller than 60 because of the new Park Service size regulations for groups.

The youngest of our group's parents had gotten his shoes a bit big - so he’d have room to grow, but they caused him a lot of blisters. The other hiker who had a lot of trouble with his shoes bought jungle boots from the army surplus. I would love to own a pair, they were beautiful shinny and black but not for wearing backpacking. Fortunately my Grandfather knew to carry plenty of moleskin. The rest of the hikers were ether luckier or more experienced in their choice of footwear and got by with only a couple blisters.

We quickly all acquired nicknames. I can remember less than half of them. There were two brothers Dean and Dale one had long blond hair to his shoulders with lot of body he was given the name Mop Head, his brother wore a crew cut and acquired the name Light Bulb. There were two females in the group an adult woman named Clare and myself. We all affectionately called Clare Mom. I think a lot of us were secretly homesick during the two weeks. The young men were all amazed that my grandfather could easily out walk them. Grandpa’s theory was enough walking will keep them from getting into trouble.

Grandpa was called Old Billy Goat, not to his face, but he knew about it. His eyes would twinkle and he would get a cute grin when my mother would tease him about it.

Alcatraz, Hot Lips, I have no ideal what their real names were or exactly why they acquired those nicknames. There are only two others whose monikers I can recall Carl who later named his daughter after my Grandfather was over six feet tall and was bestowed the name Big Foot with very good reason. My own nickname was Barefoot. I’d take my shoes off as soon as we would reach camp and once I had my shoes off I'd rather endure the pain of sticks, pine needles and pine cones than put my shoes back on.

To find more Sunday Scribblings go here
http://sundayscribblings.blogspot.com/

7 comments:

Shuku said...

Evocative and such a fun memory. And all those nicknames - I really enjoyed reading this!

--Shuku

paris parfait said...

Such a great story to remember! Thanks for telling us about your experience and the memory of your grandfather.

Jennifer said...

Such wonderful memories. I can't believe someone would have shoes to grow into on a hike - OUCH!

Kara said...

Oh what a nice memory. I really liked how it fit the topic but wasn't so literal. I got to the end and didn't expect to find out your nickname was barefoot. Thanks

Left-handed Trees... said...

I also loved how you took the theme and "traveled" with it a bit--coming around full-circle to the "Big Foot", "Bare Foot" nicknames. I went right along with you...

JavaCurls said...

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story! Sweet memories!

silverlight said...

I remember your Grandfather, he was great fun. I wish I could have gotten him to talk more about his travels to africa. He had a BIG voice!!?! When I was visiting, he talked so soft, I could barely hear him. I missed him, when he was gone. He was a great character.