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I Called Her Granny Grunt

February 2, 2013

This is another excerpt from my first book, From Sharecropper’s Son to Tracking Missiles.” The story is about my grandmother. I called her Granny Grunt.

I called my grandmother Granny Grunt. My uncle Jack taught me to call her that. He thought it would bug her, but it didn’t. The name didn’t bother her at all. She became Granny Grunt to all of us. My children called her Granny Grunt and then began calling my mother Granny Grunt after my grandmother died. In turn, my grandchildren also called my mother Granny Grunt. When I suggested that my grandchildren call my wife Granny Grunt, Billie refused to let them call her Granny Grunt.

Mom was a great mother, but she was not Granny Grunt. Mom taught me many things but she was more serious-minded than Granny Grunt. If Mom had housework to do, she did not have time to play. Granny Grunt always took time to play with me and the other grandchildren as they came along. It did not matter if there was housework to be done; she would just do housework later.

One day when I was out at the hen house as Granny gathered eggs. Granny was carrying the eggs in her apron by holding the corners together. I wanted to carry some eggs. Granny put one egg into my hands and said, “Hold tight. Don’t drop it. It will break.”

As we walked from the hen house to the kitchen, I held both hands squeezed tightly together, making sure I did not drop the egg. I felt something oozing through my fingers. I began crying as I saw that I had squeezed the egg so tightly that it broke and the egg yellow was oozing through my fingers.

Granny quickly looked to see what was wrong. She calmly said, “That’s okay, throw that egg down.” She carefully put another in my hands and showed me how to hold my hands tight without breaking the egg.

Granny cooked that egg for my supper.


I don’t remember much about Granny’s house, but do remember the garden on the north side. There was a fish pond in the garden with some gold fish in it. I remember that they were very large goldfish. There was a water storage tank on a platform about six feet above the ground with a windmill feeding the tank. The tank gave them running water to the kitchen by gravity feed.

Granny and her son, Jimmy, used cans to make an underground irrigation system to water the garden. They dug a small trench through the area they wanted to water and placed cans end to end with the bottoms cut out. They buried the trench with a can sticking out of the ground at one end. They could run water in at one end and it would run down the cans and seep out to water the plants. They had created an irrigation system to keep Granny’s beautiful flowers and vegetable garden watered.

There was a garage and a barn behind the house, which was to the west. It was near that old barn that Uncle Jack told me I could catch a bird by putting salt on its tail. I went in the house and got some salt and spent a long time sitting there waiting to put salt on a bird’s tail.

Sometime during that time, probably when I was about four, I asked Granny to sew a monkey’s tail onto my overalls. I do not remember this incident, but Granny Grunt told me about it many times. She said I asked her to sew a monkey’s tale onto my overalls. I had apparently seen some pictures of monkeys swinging in trees and wanted to be like a monkey. She sewed a piece of rope as a tail onto the seat of my overalls.

She then watched me go out in the backyard and climb onto a tree limb that was not very high and try to wrap the monkey’s tail around the limb. I wasn’t able to swing by my monkey’s tail after all. I cannot imagine Mom sewing a tail on my overalls; she would have told me how foolish that was and suggested that I play with something else.

Another incident Granny told me about when I was looking through a catalog with her. I was pointing out everything that I wanted. Granny told me that we were not rich so we could not get all those things. She went on to tell me that Jesus was not rich, but he was happy. That is when I said, “I think I would rather be a little bit richer and not quite so happy.” I guess some of my philosophy dates all the way to back then.

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