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Job Jumping, The Swearing Truck, Sharing Sucks and Ice Cream for Breakfast

The Swearing Truck:

It was ok to swear in Grandpa’s truck.


And that wasn’t me saying so just because I knew Gramps would never rat me out, no:


That was his rule.


He had told me that, right after he had sworn.


He had to slam the breaks a little too quickly to make a stop and the junk in the bed of his trunk all smashed forward into the cab with a loud thump.


“Damn-it!” He said, temporarily forgetting about me in the truck.


“Gramps! You just said a bad word!”


And that was when he told me all about his truck and how it was perfectly ok to swear there and if you did, you wouldn’t even get in trouble.


“SHIT!” I yelled… I couldn’t have been more than seven.


“Good show!” He laughed playfully slapping my knee. We both laughed.


Ice Cream For Breakfast:

This was the Gramps that let me eat ice cream for breakfast because it had “some healthy stuff in it,” he had reasoned when my mom got pissed and he chuckled. He’d point out there was Smucker’s hot fudge in the fridge too and just how long one should pop it in the microwave for… do it right.


And when my cousins and I were arguing over candy and my aunt asked us if we knew what “we said about sharing,” before we could dejectedly moan:


…sharing is fun for everyone…


Grampa interjected. “Would you like to know what I say about sharing?” He winked at us.


We sure did.


Sharing Sucks:

“Sharing… sucks,” and he chuckled and we roared and my aunt audibly gasped and said, “Dad! Don’t you tell them that! We’re teaching these kids they need to share.”


And my grandfather laughing says, “And I’m teaching them that sharing sucks!”


When you had just one candy bar and you also had several cousins to share that one scant piece of candy with, grandpa wasn’t entirely wrong.


Grandpa spoke his mind and he thought there was nothing wrong with us doing so too.



From left to right: My Nana and “Gramps”, my Grandfather and Grandmother

Acrylic on stone - gift to my parents.


***********

I was in my early 20s staying with my Gramps at his condo. While on winter break, I would spend nearly an entire month with him each winter after my Nana died.


On one such visit we were talking after dinner. Gramps and I had both had a few pops and he said to me, “You know you can’t stick to anything. You’re all over the place, this job and that job…you’re a job jumper,” and that was where my brain shut off and it came to rest for many years afterward: I was devastated.


Gramps speaking his mind… and this time I was in the crossfires. This was brand new. We had always been “buddies.”


I reeled. He wasn’t entirely wrong, and that’s why it had stung so hard.


What my brain failed to process in the next few moments though and completely overlook for a long, long time was what he said next, “You remind me of myself. You’re just like me.”


For the longest time the tail end of what he said didn’t exist in my consciousness, it was just that other shit that Gramps had said, “job jumper.”


Did he think I was a loser? A joke?


I don’t know when my brain decided to look at the ENTIRE conversation again, for the longest time my brain never fully absorbed the back part of his comment, but it was sometime later, long after he had died when it dawned on me: I got what he really meant…


My grandpa had been a job jumper, I had never known that. The only thing I had ever known was a man who ran a wildly successful oil delivery business and could have retired a millionaire in his early 40s. I had never known that prior to finding his niche, to learning that he did best working for himself, that my successful gramps had floundered.


And on the flip side, once he found his niche, he excelled.


While Grandpa’s delivery and my acceptance didn’t quite hit like he had intended, the message was loud and clear now, Gramps always believed in me… he knew that just like him, I had to figure out my niche.


*********

Whenever I visited Grampa at his condo in the Keys, we’d watch “The Price is Right”. Watching that with Gramps was part of my inspiration for “The Price Is Too High” and I can’t help but think, as I’m preparing to move into my new studio that Gramps would be really proud of me right now: I’ve found my niche, I’m speaking my truths and I know exactly what he’d say,


“Good show, kiddo. Good. Show.”


And just like last time, he’d be spot on… again.




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