And then there was the mailbox; the mailbox that sat in front of his house on South Street; the mailbox which he enclosed in an armor suit of red brick, painted white; the mailbox which guarded the house silently, like a pint-sized, “White Knight”, only opening its yawning maw to receive the mail or render it forth faithfully, to the King and Queen of the Castle; the “Castle” which the “King”—Granddaddy—had constructed from its foundation to its silver tin parapet.
In the front “courtyard”, he constructed a birdbath using; concrete, plumbing pipe, and a large, old, “Frisbee-shaped” Coca-Cola sign. I must admit that I, for one, was doubtful that any bird would go out of its busy way to bathe in this construction of Granddaddy’s, but I was wrong. Almost immediately, flocks of birds of many and diverse; colors, shapes, and sizes began visiting the bath; gaily splashing in its clear cool water; water which Grandaddy refreshed daily from the garden hose. I didn’t know so many birds needed baths! GEEENIUS!
Granddaddy was a genius with his hands. Gramp had the best and most well-constructed clothesline in the neighborhood, possibly in the whole town of Cuthbert. It resembled the old, “telephone poles” which suspended the wires that once lined the highways and bi-ways of our countryside. He built the “shelter” which, despite the fact that this was not its purpose, provided; me, my siblings, and our friends, a place to hang out; a play place out of the sun on sweltering summer days. He constructed the sidewalk from his house, to our house next door; the sidewalk which still has my handprints and footprints in it. It also has a divet from where my father’s shotgun discharged, accidentally, but that’s a story for another day. His final build, was a smooth-as-glass board of wood, which allowed him to transfer his body easily, from his bed to his wheelchair and from his wheelchair to his favorite spot on the sofa, after he’d lost both legs to diabetes.
“Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” ~Thomas A. Edison
“No one can arrive from being talented alone, work transforms talent into genius.”~ Anna Pavlova
He only finished the 6th grade in school, yet he knew many things; he knew how short the dog was. He knew the worth of my siblings and me because, he regularly pronounced, “I wouldn’t take a gold guinea for ya’ll!” I assumed that a “gold guinea” was worth quite a bit, at least I hoped it was! He knew how to encourage a young mind because, long before Jesse Jackson immortalized the phrase, “I am somebody”, Granddaddy announced, “You somebody!” He knew how to cultivate young talent. My brother followed him everywhere and learned many things and once, after I’d managed to install an old “wind-up” alarm clock into a plastic, “Ten-Cent-Store” Army jeep, in such a way that when the alarm sounded, the jeep “rolled out”, unstoppable; he called me a genius! I wasn’t one, if course, but to have heard his confident proclamation that day, inspires me to this day. GEEENIUS!
“To see things in the seed, that is genius.” ~ Lao Tzu
“Genius ain’t anything more than elegant common sense.”~ Josh Billings
He was a master of tobacco usage. He smoked a pipe; he smoked cigars; he occasionally smoked filter-less Camels; he smoked Prince Albert in the can, and he chewed Beechnut tobacco. Of course, tobacco is hazardous to one’s health, but the variety of his usage was GEEENIUS. His mastery of its usage was also GEEENIUS. He could sit on the porch and spit tobacco off the end of the porch, into the yard without sprinkling a drop—Gramp would probably not have agreed with that particular assessment though. When he smoke his pipe or cigar, in the living room, and the air was still, a wavy sheet of fragrant smoke would form; slowly undulating; riding on the back of a wave of still air—until, someone or something moved, breaking the reverie.
“Mastery of talent is GEEENIUS!”~Obsidius II
“Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.” ~Arthur Schopenhauer
Granddaddy was a man of few words. Granddaddy’s TV watching partner was Mr. Jule Wynn. Mr. Wynn was himself, quite a character. He was a very light-complexioned Black man, who resembled the character “Sam”—the bartender on the long-running TV Western series, “Gunsmoke”. Whenever Mr. Jule would see a good-looking woman on the TV, he’d turn to my grandfather and ask, “How ‘bout that one Charlie?”, to which my grandfather would respond, “Whoa, Lawd!” Mr. Jule would smile and turn back to the TV show. These two words spoke volumes between those two old friends.
When, as he often was, the butt of the “Jokester”, Uncle Harry’s jokes and stories, he usually suffered them silently, but sometimes responded with a stoic, “Harry lying”. When the “White Insurance Man” entered the house with his usual, patronizing and trite greeting; “GOOD OLD CHARLIE BROWN!” he would simply respond, “Alright, alright” and that was all. GEEENIUS!
“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.” ~ Charles Bukowski
“Simplicity is the most difficult thing to secure in this world; it is the last limit of experience and the last effort of genius.” ~ George Sand
“Mediocrity can talk, but it is for genius to observe.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli
Finally, Granddaddy was a man who LOVED everyone! GEEENIUS
“Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.” Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
If the evidence that I’ve provided here doesn’t prove that MY GRANDDADDY WAS A GENIUS, then I don’t know what will; UNLESS, of course, you take my word for it!