My grandfather was the most naturally cool person I have ever met. He was all skinny tallness with dark hair, soft-spoken and absolutely brilliant. He passed the bar exam without going to law school and worked as a lawyer for a time. He lived in Knoxville, Tennessee.
He taught me how to play Gin Rummy, and he would make cheese crackers. That was the only thing he made, because he and my grandmother employed Willie May Turnipseed, who cooked and cleaned for them for decades- after her mother had worked for their family. Yes, by god, that was her real name. I remember her scratchy voice and age spots all over her hairline, and how she would offer my sister and me coke in a bottle when we were visiting my grandparents.
My grandfather smoked unfiltered Camels and held them like hipsters do, all cross-legged and casual. We would write letters back and forth- mine saying things like,
HI! I am eating Nutter Butters.
While his would be written in scratchy, scrawly handwriting and test me on vocabulary. Every single time, I would have to look up a word in the dictionary and write him back the meaning; I loved it. Cerebellum is what stands out in my head. That’s the only one I can remember.
Here is something he taught me how to draw, and I pass it on to you with the understanding that you will appreciate it and keep it safe. Only share it with those you love.