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January 27, 2013

This is an excerpt from my first book, From Sharecropper’s Son to Tracking Missiles.” The story is about one set of great-grandparents, who lived three doors from me on the edge of my town when I was little.

Here is a favorite story about Grandpa Rogers. He was the Cantor in a Primitive Baptist Church. He was so modest that he would go to the outhouse before daylight so no one would see him. He would not go to the outhouse again until after dark, because the women in the neighborhood, although related to him, might see him and know what he was doing.

At bedtime, Grandpa Rogers went to the bedroom before Granny Rogers. He would take off his clothes and long johns and put on a long nightshirt. After he was in bed, Granny Rogers would come into the room, turn off the light, undress and put on her gown. Grandpa Rogers would get up before daylight, dress in the dark and go to the outhouse. Then Granny Rogers would get up, turn on the light and get dressed.

Granny Rogers probably never saw her husband naked until one fateful day in their later years. Eighty-year old Grandpa Rogers got out of bed one chilly morning and became mixed up as he tried to put on his long johns in the dark. He put his legs into the arms and tried to stretch the long johns upward to get his arms into the legs. When his head popped through the seat flap, he lost his balance and fell to the floor all tangled up.

Granny Rogers heard him fall and begin thrashing around on the floor. She jumped out of bed and turned on the light. When she saw him on the floor, naked and tangled up in his long johns with his head sticking out the seat flap, she started laughing. She finally helped him get the long johns off and left the room so he could get dressed. After he was dressed, he went to the outhouse and she got dressed.

At first light, Granny Rogers ran next door to tell her son and daughter-in-law, my grandparents, about the funny sight she had seen. Grandpa Rogers usually sat in his rocking chair on the front porch most of the day. He was so embarrassed that he did not set foot out of the house during daylight for several days.

I can remember Granny and Grandpa Rogers a little, although they moved from their house near me in around 1938/39. A couple with a young girl, Virgie Lena, who was my age rented the house.


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