|MawMaw & PawPaw Pippin - circa 1970-72|
MawMaw was a devout Christian - a member of the local United Pentecostal church and used to take my sister, my brother and me to church every Saturday night, Sunday School on Sunday morning and if we were still there Sunday evening , we went to church that night too.
PawPaw on the other hand, whoooo boy! PawPaw was a moonshiner and a gambler. I remember the story of his cooking moonshine out in the woods and the time his still was trampled by cows. He and my father had gotten word that the local sheriff knew where their still was and was forming up a posse to destroy it and arrest him. When he and my father got to the still, they found several cows laying around the area, sprawled out on their sides with their eyes rolling back in their heads. Apparently, they had decided to have a taste of the moonshine and had broken up the barrels in their eagerness to drink the stuff. There was not much they could do for the cows, so they hauled the equipment away -they never were arrested for it.
My grandfather was also a troublemaker. And a brawler. He loved to fight, especially with his own kin. You know that meme, "nature or nurture"? Well, I was never sure if I inherited his personality or if he nurtured it, but for many years, I was his favorite grandchild and he kept me close. I learned my multiplication tables and ABCs at his knee every morning when he was drinking his coffee, preparing to go to work. During the winters, I would learn in front of the fireplace. But in summer, we would take to the swing. The thing I learned from him that I thank him for every day is my ability to be honest with my friends.
Once when I was in high school I sat on the swing with him and cried my heart out. I was devastated that I didn't have a lot of friends and while I knew the reason, I couldn't figure out how to change it. I was too honest with my friends, sometimes to the point of being brutal.
PawPaw listened, then told me, "Always be honest with your friends. If they leave you, they weren't worth keeping around. If they stay, they are your true friends." That has stuck with me always.
|Me & PawPaw - 1989 - he moved his swing out into the yard.|
|PawPaw - 1989|