My grandpa was “Old-Timey”.
He still raised chickens and such.
He had little ‘dibbies’, as he called them, for as long as I can remember. He had a barn behind his house and beside that barn, or shed, really, was the chicken coop.
Grandpa adhered to the old ways, in a lot of ways.
Grandma was steadfast in her religious beliefs and regularly attended church services fervently, a believer.
Grandpa (what I knew was because my Grandma said so)… was pretty much ‘back slid’. By that, I mean that sometimes he said a word not easily accepted in Sunday School and he always smoked those “devil” cigarettes. I was pretty sure he was going to the bad place for those, especially, according to my grandma. Bad words were one thing,but those cigarettes were bad news.
Grandpa was a good grandpa..quick with a smile and a clown for the camera..Always doing something funny or acting up. Occasional bad words were let out in a rush, but always when something upset him or he stubbed a toe.
My grandma could just not abide by those cigarettes.
My grandma gave up drinking coca-cola for years because it was something frowned upon by her church. I guess that stemmed from the original recipe coke, that had cocaine in it..not sure. But cigarettes were "of the devil", no doubt about it.
Back in the forties or so, there would come to 'Gastown' a band of “gypsies” and they would live out by the fairgrounds for a few weeks. They would travel by horse and wagon and set up a sort of encampment outside of the town limits. Dad thought they were circus workers following the traveling circus around.
Well, as it happened, grandpa’s chickens would come up missing, usually coinciding with the arrival of these gypsies.
So when they came to town, he would go and offer them a few chickens, to ward off the stealing, I suppose. A sort of peace-offering..‘I am being nice, now you be nice’, sort of gesture.
Dad was entranced by these Gypsies, as any boy of 8 or 9 would be. He said that he would sometimes sneak off and go to their camp at night. They would dance and sing and play the guitar. They would cook up pots of food over open fires in their camps and sometimes he ate with them. He would watch them and keep track of where they were during their stay in town. Not sure if grandpa knew about these jaunts to the gypsy camps or not, but I am sure that it would have met with a stern disapproval from grandma.
I can almost see the firelight dancing off the little boys’ wide eyes, full of wonder and excitement, somewhere he was not supposed to be.
From my Dad’s descriptions, the fairgrounds at the edge of town, were somewhere in the vicinity of the present day Akers Center Shopping complex. The first shopping center in town.
They always had a huge red Santa on the roof of the center at Christmas time when I was a kid. That was the sure-fire sign that Christmas was coming for me. Paul Roses Department store was there in the complex. My sister’s first job. Also a Winn-Dixie where my brother worked for awhile. Not far from the house where I grew up, so I was frequently there at Akers Center.
Sometimes, after hearing my Dad’s tale, I would see swishing red skirts and hear tamborines tapping in my mind, as I made my way across the parking lot at the center.
|From Arrowood Family Movie File|
Lewis "Pat" Arrowood and Maude Hull Arrowood