My Grampa’s Hat

hat

I love fedoras, probably because my Grandpa wore one, and he looked pretty cool in it.

Not “Clark Gable” kind of cool.  Just “I am an old guy, and I know that, deep down, you think I look cool in this hat.”

George H. Moore looked especially cool when he was wearing his hat and cruising down Berry Road in his bronze-colored ’57 Chevy.

I know it broke his heart when had to trade it in. But the car was starting to burn oil and money.  Gramps was retired by then, and too old to spend Saturdays working on the big 327 engine.

Never Idle   

I loved spending time in his garage workshop, playing with tools and the hundreds of blank keys left over from his days as a gunsmith and locksmith.

I loved the sounds and smells of that garage, and watching Gramps meticulously take things apart, clean and lubricate them, then carefully put them back together.  Perfectly.  

In the summer, after dinner, Gramps would sit in his recliner in front of the huge water cooler or, later, a small window air conditioner.  “It’s time to pay the electric man,” he’d say, and we’d both enjoy a cool breeze for a little while.

Every now and again, Grandma Bertha would ask if we needed anything, kiss Gramps on the cheek, and then go back into the kitchen to do Grandma stuff.

Sadly, I don’t think Gramps ever got to watch me play my high school football at Owens Stadium.  I think that by then he was pretty sick with cancer.  But I know he was glued to the radio.

He was proud to see me in my Norman High letter jacket.  I’m pretty sure he hated my “post-football” long hair in 1974, but I don’t recall him ever saying anything about it.

What I do remember is him telling me how important it was to get an education. Over and over again.

Covered Wagon 

Gramps’ parents were full-blooded Indians (Potawatomi and Sac and Fox) and they really did bring him to Oklahoma as a baby in a covered wagon. 

He would never have envisioned going to college himself, but he passionately wanted his grand kids to get a degree.  Most of us did.

Gramps didn’t talk to me much about religion, but that wasn’t because he was shy about his faith.  He just knew my teen-age heart was too hard to listen.

But there was never a question about his faith, or his authority. When he bowed his head to pray “grace” at loud family gatherings, instantly, the whole house went quiet.

I remember his complete and utter focus when he prayed.  Even then, I knew he was talking directly to God, from his heart, for all of us, and that the Lord was listening.

For my High School graduation present, Gramps and Grandma Bertha gave me a New Testament & Psalms, “red letter edition”, with my full name embossed in gold capital letters on the cover.

It sat unused for a long time.

But as an adult, I tried to always carry it in my suitcase on business trips.  It was written in that old style English, so it was hard to actually read.  But I often re-read the handwritten inscription on the inside cover:

“May 12 — 1974. Dear Grandson — We hope you will accept this Bible in the spirit in which it is given, and you will read from its pages often.  We pray it will be your guide through life.  We love you very much.  Grampa and Grandma.”

That Bible is more precious to me than most any book I own.  I wouldn’t trade it for Gramps’ cool fedora, or even his beautiful ’57 Chevy.

No kidding.

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4 Responses to “My Grampa’s Hat”

  1. Michelle says:

    I do so love your blog posts..

    I get into a little dreamy trance. I loved this. I’m also medicated, so that might account for some of the dreaminess.

    Still..you are a kick ass writer.

  2. Kris Wehrmeister says:

    Listen, what do you want me to say in response to these words?

    You write up a fucking storm when you are moved to do so. Additionally, you are a fine man and a fine father, and . . . a fine grandson. Wear the hat with pride.

    Carry the book to guide you on your travels.

    Life is a pain in the ass.

    But then there are words.

    I will take your words.

    Any day.

    Dumb-ass.

    Kris

    • hams says:

      I could not ask for a finer compliment unless, perchance, it included a wet fish. Butthead. Nanner nanner. And what is it with you? Do you get paid by the word. Or by the typo? Snork.

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