The lore surrounding my grandfather is extensive. He was an incredible role model for my father and dad says I look exactly like him with my freckled complexion and strawberry blonde hair. Everybody affectionately call him “Red”. Well, my grandfather grew up on a large rural farm. His father was a terrible farmer and if it wasn’t for my great grandmother’s dairy and chicken operation, they would have gone under. Lillian made all the money selling chickens, milk, eggs, and butter to the local folk and stores.
My grandfather longed to move to the city, buy a house in the suburbs, and work in finance. “I never want to step in chicken shit again!” he once told his two brothers. When he turned eighteen, he got a job in Opelika at a bank. He would have to catch and ride a bus in every morning to work. He was so determined. He scrimped and saved while growing his credit. Post war America was booming. About this time, he fell in love with a little country girl named Sally Lou. He would later marry her and have one son, my father. They eventually moved to the city, bought a house in the suburbs, and Red become vice president of a local bank. He was living his dream. My father said he always had a new Buick. My grandmother was a country girl at heart, though, and always longed to move back to God’s country. She stood beside my grandfather for years until he died and within weeks she was back in the country having bought a small farm. It was these years on her farm and my stays there that were some of the best times of my life. I still miss my grandmother. I was unabashedly her favorite. I often say my life would have been vastly different if I lived with her in her later years, working the farm, and never went to college. C’est le vie as they say!