Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Most of the time we spent up home was with the family of Dad’s
sister Flossie. Her and Uncle Herbie’s house served as the start
point for trips further upcountry to see the relatives in Errol or
visit Grandpa and Grandma West who lived apart.

Grandpa West was still logging when I was old enough to be aware
of things. I can recall a mustached man with a fedora perched on
his head, a pair of green workpants and suspenders over the green
workshirt. Most of all I recall fingers missing from each hand and
the small tin can into which he spat tobacco juice. I don’t recall
many conversations with him but looking back I can chalk that up
to two main reasons, one being the mix of awe and fright I had of
the stranger I saw once or twice a year who was missing fingers
and had brown spit. The other was that like my father Grandpa
West was not what you’d call a big talker, at least not that I ever
recall on our visits. But when I was younger I was too busy being
a kid exploring or playing while the adults were talking.

The last time I recall seeing my grandfather was on a trip my dad
and I made uphome by ourselves when I was a teenager. We drove
up in an old 1954 Chevy to Upton, Me. where Grandpa West was
living at the time. He'd been running a trap line and caught a fisher
which was frozen solid. It made a big thump when he dropped it on
the floor. I suspect that was for my benefit as was most likely what
I think was a jar of pickled deer tongues he set out on the table for
dinner with deer steaks, potatoes and sour dough biscuits.
I was a city boy, after all, and I think he got a grin out of my looks
at what was in that jar!

Friends became suspicious when they noticed he hadn’t come in
to the post office to pick up his mail. They went to his home to
check up on him and found him dead of a heart attack.

I have even fewer recollections of Grandma West. While we did
talk some when we visited it was the usual sort a grandchild
might have about school and how I was doing. The visits were
either not very long or took place back at Aunt Flossie’s in Milan
where I’d be busy playing with my cousin Bobby. And as I grew
older I didn't often accompany the rest of the family on the

I regret I never sat down to talk to them when I had the chance.
When you are young you think everyone lives forever and you
don’t have the time to spend listening to older folks reminiscing.
Now that I am closer in age to what they were back then, I wish
that I had.

We’ll stop here for how.

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