Monday, July 02, 2007


When I was a boy, I used to go spend a week with my grandpa twice a summer. He had a Peach Orchard...120 trees...and several of them were "Mine"...that is to say, I had planted seeds from the peaches I had eaten years before, and now those trees bore fruit.
In the house there were jars filled with Peach Preserves. They lined a very sizable pantry and also shelves that ran along the stairway that led to the 2nd floor. Granpa had a huge Cereal Bowl that he filled with Corn Flakes every nmorning, then topped them with half a jar of peach preserves and milk.
Then he would take a shot of Prune Juice.
People came by all the time to get some peaches, and anytime we went anywhere in the car we took some with us to give away.
The house had been built by my Grandfather in 1918; I still have receipts for the lumber he used. It wasn't quite a farm, but he had chickens, and grew most of the food he ate. There was always just a little too much Okra and Black-eyed peas on the table for my taste, but what I wouldn't give for either of those as grown by him now.

In the early 60's, they were testing the Supersonic F-111 that was being built in Fort Worth. Grandpa lived 30 miles south of Fort Worth, and right under the flight path. One afternoon, out in the Orchard, there was a thunderous boom from the sky...I went running to Papa and hollered '
'Its a gonna wain papa, run for the house"
and I turned and ran as fast as I could.
Granpa said he looked at the sky and there weren't a cloud one. What I had heard was an F-111 breaking the sound barrier.
I did not stop till I got to the house.
Granpa loved to tell that story.

The highlight twice a summer for my Grandpa was at the end of the week, Saturday, before I left for home, when he would take me 'Downtown" (in a town whose population was about 500) and I would get my haircut. Back then, it was called a buzzcut and it left every hair in your head about 1/4 inch long. Then the Barber would splash some sweet smellin' rose water or tonic or something on your shaved head and removed the cover that had protected you from all the hair that had been removed from your head. He took a brush and brushed any remnants from the back of your neck. When you ran your hand across your head, it felt funny and sometimes give you a chill. Sometimes I thought my head rather resembled a peach after that haircut.

The whole time, Papa would be talkin' with all his buddies, so proud of the young man and the Haircut taking place. As you stepped from the chair, the Ol' Timers would tell granpa what a good lookin' young man he had there. The Barber Shop on Saturdays was the meetin' spot. These were usually the same buddies that would have two tables of Dominoes going in Papa's barn, with a cloud of Tobacco smoke and a gentle smell of Whiskey in the air.

One year, I think it was right after the 7th grade and Miss Cantrell, when it came the last day at Granpas at the end of the summer, he asked if I were ready to go downtown for my Haircut. I remember lookin' up at him and sayin'
"You know Granpa, I been thinkin' I might wanna let it grow out a bit.".
I'll never forget the look on his woulda thought I'd cut his heart out.
He died mercifully about two years later, before my hair had taken on really hippy-ish proportions. (this link gets you to several related posts)
It was part of becoming an "Atlantean"
I let my hair grow out allright, and for the next 37 or so years kept it that way....until two days ago when I walked into a barber shop and got a 'Buzzcut". They started out on a #6, but I had 'em take it down to a #1!
I believe myself to look like a cross between Bruce Willis and ...maybe Robert Redford now...with a little Daniel Craig thrown in...

You know, Grandpa had all those Peach Trees, but I do declare that he never sold a peach one.


GEWELS said...

Shall I part my hair behind?
Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each

Men are like peaches- they are sweetest just before they decay!

Hmm! Bruce Willis AND Robert Redford all rolled up into one? gotta see that!

Akelamalu said...

What wonderful memories!

Oh I hope your Granpa can see you now with the buzzcut, he'll be so proud.

I'm trying to envisage you...Bruce Willis and ...maybe Robert Redford now...with a little Daniel Craig thrown in... COR!

steve said...

What I believe myself to look like and what I actually resemble are probably quite different! But as soon as I have a picure, I'll post it...

steve said...

Oh, and Gewels-I do love that poem...there are a lot of lyrics from songs I know buried in that poem!

Mother of Invention said...

I was just going to say what akel. said..I'm sure he's smiling and nodding to the barber and his buddies gathering 'round him up there, and saying, "There he grandon, still a good-lookin' kid with his new buzz cut!"

Yeah, post us a pic of the new hairless look! I used to get a pixie cut for the summer! NO more!

Dave Renfro said...

You'll enjoy that buzzcut! The high-and-tight is the only thing I've kept from my Army days. Feels like a slick nickel!

GrizzBabe said...

Man, real live peach trees in your own backyard? That must have been heaven. I bet Grandpa made a mean peach cobbler!

Anonymous said...

you did this on purpose, didn't you ..... tormenting me with images of delicious, juicy, nectar filled .......


whattttt ???? what did you think i was going to say ?? I've been holding onto a great poem about peaches by Li-Young Lee ......

looks like you beat me to the punch. i'll eat anything with peaches in it ........

oh - cute haircut by the way ..... you do sort of look like bruce and rob..... (i have an excellent imagination !!)

alphawoman said...

Great post.

Barbara said...

Can't we see pics of the THEN and NOW buzzcut?

I love the J. Alfred Prufrock poem Gewels quoted and agree with her appraisal of men. Hopefully you have a few more years in you as you ripen before that decay sets in. :)

Kim said...

I grow old, I grow old,
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled
A favorite of mine as well.
I wonder when you wrote this post--I am here on a flashback from 2011.
I let my brother cut my hair once. It was almost a buzzcut.
You are so lucky to have these family memories. I only remember seeing any grandfather once. He was named Pop. He was a paraplegic after being rundown when he was jaywalking in DC. We moved to Virginia to be close after his accident but I guess it was considered too upsetting to take a child to the hospital to see an ill grandfather, or maybe it was too much trouble to bring us kids along. He gave me a Kennedy half dollar which I kept for many years and wish I had still. I think he died of pneumonia a few months after Kennedy died.
A few years ago my husband lost his masonic ring. My brother gave him Pop's ring because Pop was a mason too and they both have these big bear paw hands. "Remembering" my grandfather's hands is a creation of my imagination, as are so many of my memories.
It's just about peach season. I make a fabulous deep dish peach pie with blueberries. I serve it with homemade cinnamon ice cream. I'd like to serve it to you sometime, sort of a gift in exchange for your lovely stories, Mr BH.

bulletholes said...

Peaches and Blueberries! Yumm!