Ron’s Time Tunnel: Granddaddy was a Geeenius




The ‘White Insurance Man,’ walked into my grandparents’ home, removed the cardboard pouch, containing my grandparents’ life insurance policies, from the wall next to the front door. He turned to my grandfather, who was sitting on the sofa—his favorite spot—and addressed him with the same, geriatric salutation, he’d used 260 times before, “GOOD OLE CHARLIE BROWN!” My granddaddy’s name was “Charlie Brown;”  Charlie James Brown, to be precise. The term, “GOOD OLE CHARLIE BROWN!” is one that the ‘White Insurance Man’ had obviously filched from the Sunday Newspaper comic strip entitled, “PEANUTS! Featuring, GOOD OLE CHARLIE BROWN.” My grandfather would respond to his exclamation with a mumbled, “Alright, Alright” (I wonder why old men always repeat things twice?)  Anyway, I could never get a positively accurate read of Granddaddy’s expression, when responding to the ‘White Insurance Man.’ Even though he smiled—which he always did—I believe I could detect a flash of annoyance flit briefly across his, Hershey bar, smooth face. But, with a name like “Charlie Brown,” one has to expect a degree of, good-natured, ribbing, right?

Grandfather’s name didn’t make me think of the comic strip though; I thought about a song that my dad would sing to us from time-to-time; a song which I thought, incorrectly of course, was about my granddaddy. The song was called ‘CHARLIE BROWN,’ by the Coasters. Some of the lyrics follow:

“Fe-fe, fi-fi, fo-fo, fum

I smell smoke in the auditorium!

Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown

He’s a clown, that Charlie Brown

He’s gonna get caught

Just you wait and see

(Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?)”

Well now, let’s analyze these lyrics for a moment and surmise the reason why, in retrospect, this song could NOT have been about MY dear old, CHARLIE BROWN. First of all, MY Charlie Brown could not have set a fire in the auditorium because the one-room schoolhouse he attended, until the sixth grade, had no auditorium. But now, that last line, “Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?” could apply, in a limited sense. My Uncle Harry (the Jokester) used granddaddy’s name—good naturedly, of course—as the name of the foil, in a lot of his “tales,” to which my grandfather would quietly respond, “Harry lying” (a Geeenius response!). Let’s look at another verse:

“That’s him on his knees

I know that’s him

Yeah, from 7 come 11

Down in the boys’ gym”

Well, once again, the “One Room Schoolhouse,” had no gym; Gym was OUTSIDE! But! He was a praying man, and I mean a PRAYING man, a praying GEEENIUS! So he spent a lot of time on his knees. So that line COULD apply.

Let’s try another one:

“Who’s always writing on the wall?

Who’s always goofing in the hall?

Who’s always throwing spit balls?

Guess who (who, me) yeah, you

Who walks in the classroom, cool and slow?

Who calls the English teacher, Daddy-O?

Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown”

This one is tricky, the “blackboard,”in the “One Room Schoolhouse” was actually a section of the front wall, painted black, so technically, EVERYONE wrote on the wall, but the schoolhouse had no hall. I particularly liked this line; “Who walks in the classroom, cool and slow. Who calls the English teacher, “Daddy-O”? Once, as a child, my cousin Elvira, when describing granddaddy to someone who’d never seen him said, “he big, and he fat. He stick out in front, and he stick out behind, and when he walk, he walk like this (deftly imitating Granddaddy’s waddling gait). By the way, Elvira grew up to be a teacher and her mother, Aunt Will Eva (Granddaddy’s sister), became the principal of the “One Room Schoolhouse,”at a later point in TIME. Also, if he’d EVER called a teacher anything other than; Mr. This or Mrs. That; or Sir or Ma’am, he would have been the first man to “time travel” (a GEEENIUS level accomplishment), because he would have gotten knocked into next week!

Saturday Morning cartoons, however, introduced me to a more fitting image of MY Charlie Brown. Once, while watching an episode of the ‘Road Runner,’ the Road Runner’s nemesis was in a shack marked, “EXPLOSIVES,”at what appeared to be a construction site, pouring nitroglycerin into fake carrots. As he carefully poured the explosive liquid, he fiendishly cackled his name and credentials to himself, “Wile E. Coyote, Super-Genius,” he snickered. “I like the way that rolls out! Wile E. Coyote, SUPER-GEEENIUS.” While he’s having this little meeting of the “Self-Admiration Society” (SAS), he fails to notice that, SOMEONE, has moved his shack onto the railroad tracks adjacent to the site. Also unknown to him, there is a train coming. The train’s whistle blows, punctuating his last appraisal of himself. He turns, and looks out of the little portal of the shack. To his “SHOCK and AWE” a train is bearing down upon him. He closes the portal’s green shade and stares, fatalistically, into the “camera.” The train hits the shack and…well you know what happens when a moving train meets shack full of nitro! Need I say more?

Granddaddy is NOT WILE E. though! Although Wile E. proclaims himself a “GEEENIUS,” prior to the unfortunate outcome of his plan to rig fake carrots with nitro, the REAL GEEENIUS was the guest star, who was responsible for the shack being moved to the tracks, none other than BUGS BUNNY! That guy, is the guy who was like unto REAL Charlie Brown, GEEENIUS!


Come back next week and I’ll tell you why MY Charlie Brown, was a GEEENIUS!


34 thoughts on “Ron’s Time Tunnel: Granddaddy was a Geeenius

  1. Pingback: Ron’s Time Tunnel: SINNUS JAYUZ – seekthebestblog

  2. Hey Ron – you’re a great story teller as ever. But I have to say that I was right there with Lady G rolling on the floor with laughter with regard to your response about which men cam to the neighbourhood. It was absolutely hilarious. I’m a bit confused though – what was the white insurance man doing in the poor neighbourhood – what was to insure? Was it life and funeral policies.

    Yeah yo bring back a number of memories – there was a man for everything. What you call the mailman, was the post man. The milkman would exchange your pint of milk at the doorstep everyday. I don’t see milk in glass bottles anymore. Just remember that the milk in those bottles was super creamy. Back in the day, we had outside toilets with buckets that had to be collected every week by the “Shit bucket man” I don’t think those guys wanted to be recognised on the streets so they took to wearing wigs and other disguises – so that takes care of your sanitary engineer.

    We also had inspectors for everything – particularly what were called health inspectors. How silly when I think about it, my mother would change her dress before she’d open the door to the White health inspector. I guess if you were poor, they had to inspect that you weren’t brewing a rat infestation or a killer virus LOL!

    Reminds me also of the instruction my mother would give when one of these visitors knocked on the door. She’d say: “Open the door and tell them I’m not here” Very obediently, I would do just that – say: “My mother said that I must tell you that she’s not here”

    Wow – the more I think about it the more I remember the strangest things😀 Anyway, let me get on to the posts I’ve been missing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Life Insurance or more exactly, burial insurance. Most people had one of these.

      Now that “Shit bucket man”, that’s most certainly a BRAND NEW ONE ON ME!!! LOL! Wow! It’s a dirty job but someone had to do it!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Ron’s Time Tunnel: My Granddaddy was a GENIUS -Conclusion – seekthebestblog

    1. Hey T. Wayne, I’ve heard that the fact that, some of the little “light- skinned” children running around over at the section 8 apartments, resemble the “White Insurance Man”, ain’t no coincidence! But you didn’t hear it from me. I’m not one to gossip.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Them light skinned babies looked like the milkman, the mailman, the storekeeper, the police, the fireman, the sick wagon driver, the doctor, the lawyer, the accountant, the teacher, the pharmacist, the soldier, the principal, the car salesman, the furniture man, the airline pilot, the chef, the hotelkeeper, the engineer, the conductor, the truck driver, the bus driver, the cab driver, the farmer, the mayor, the guvnuh, the councilman, the judge, the senator, the assemblyman, the undertaker…..
        Maybe I’ll add others as I think about them

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ooh no, I can ASSURE you not in THIS neighborhood. Not in section 8 housing! Not the pilots? (Not lessen he flying a cropduster), accountant? (poor people don’t need no accountants. What dey go count? Ants…get it? A-Count-Ants) lol, teacher? (almost all are female), doctors? (they don’t make housecalls no more + NO insurance), pharmacist? (only pharmacist hanging round section 8 is the “street” kind), the principal? (black man, public schools remember? ), chef?(are you kidding? Unless you calling the local fry cook, a chef), hotel keeper? (Indian), engineer? (not unless you referring to the sanitation engineer), the governor? (I doubt he knows these places exists. These places are ignored by most politicians, at every level), undertaker? (White undertaker don’t do Black funerals in these places, and vice versa)

          Now them police? Yep, seen them stalking myself.

          Car salesman? Yep, seen them too.

          Furniture man? Yep, monthly.

          Truck driver? He live there and he Black

          Bus driver? He live there. He Black too.

          Farmer? He own his own wenches.

          Remember the setting of my story Cuz? Rural South.

          My comment was in that context.

          But hey, on a grander scale- -in the cities–and, “up Noff” etc. I buy your comment wholeheartedly.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. That joker know he made his point and he got his cousin rolling all over the floor laughing! LOL!
          I dunno cuz, they might no come into the neighborhood but all dem professionals be creepin’ with everybody! including dem there! LOL!
          Man I’m lucky we share a common gene pool! I just love you 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        3. Oh yes my love. No doubt there’s a whole lotta creepin going on. Has been for centuries. All you have to do is look at the diversity of physical traits among those whom society deems Black, AA, or whatever term is in style.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Jet

    Please excuse my grammar in the use of the word past. It should be passed. I think! Lol! I wrote that post around midnight. I do remember the Fresca soda, Ron! I think I tried it once. I didn’t like the frizzy taste. Can a taste be frizzy? Lol! Anyway, I didn’t like it. Cokes always my favorite And my enemy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Woebegone but Hopeful

    Thanks for the journey down your time-tunnel.
    The Coaster’s ‘Charlie Brown’ took me back to my own childhood-the song blasting out of tinny speakers at the sea-side fairground.
    Looking forward to the next post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jet

    Mr. Charlie! Charlie Brown! He’s 🎤🎤a clown. This man was no clown. He was a fantastic grandad to his grandchildren, a great father, and a very serious and religious person that was loved by all of his neighbors. I can visualize him now, a portly, friendly guy in a Coca Cola uniform. One who brought a case of cokes home every Friday. However, they were gone by Monday because his grandson, Eric, would drink all of the strawberry ones. He would drink those, one after the other, until he was so full all he could do was sit on the steps, his lips blood red , and!
    Everyone who drove past, knew Mr. Charlie. They would wave and holler “Charlie Brown!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is soooo funny! “Red”, really was red, after drinking all of those strawberry sodas. I preferred the grape, but I would drink any of them, with the possible exception of the Tab.

      Do you remember Fresca?


  7. Loved it! I can just ‘hear’ folks calling Mr. Charlie Brown. I really enjoyed your in-depth analysis and comparison using the song “Charlie Brown.” I used to love that song. Mama would sing it to me in an exaggerated baritone for fun!
    As for the “White insurance man.”…………
    My Grandma Mary had a rule that no one was supposed to open the door for the insurance man without her permission.
    Oops! Somebody forgot to tell me so I let him in one day. You see, I was used to interacting with white folks on a daily basis, I mean our mailman, milkman, local storekeeper and next door neighbor were all White so I was comfortable interacting with them; in fact, at that point I hadn’t really noticed the difference.
    Anyway, when my Grandma saw that man she liked to shit a brick! He walked right into the kitchen where she was and said, “Hey Mary, what’cha cooking’?” Notice he did not say Miss or Mrs. Anyway, Grandma quickly snapped, “I ain’t cooking nothing and I done told you I ain’t got no money this week!”
    I thought I was gonna get a whipping. But she didn’t do anything to me. Frankly, I was one of her picks and chooses as the old folks say. Probably because she didn’t get to see me very much.

    Thanks for bringing back some good memories!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gwin, you’re funny girl, thanks. Oh, before I go further, the photo is one I took from inside the old schoolhouse at my church.

      Funny Dad would use his baritone to sing that line about, “why is everybody always picking on me?”

      Your Grandma Mary didn’t want to even SEE that dude. The furniture man used to come round too. Some people used to hide and turn off the lights, be telling the children to be quiet!


      Liked by 1 person

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