“I Remember” by Phil R., IPWW student

I remember getting a whooping for doing something I had no business doing and my grandaddy would always say, “Take the trash out son, and I’ll give you a dollar.” So I would take the trash out, he’ll give me a dollar. Then, he’d tell me to ask my uncle Charlie to walk me to Walgreens to get me some ice cream. He knew I loved ice cream.

I remember the very first and last time I ever saw my grandaddy run full speed. He used to work for Salvation Army, ringing bells during the holidays. He was supposed to meet my grandmother and I at the bus stop when he got off work, but we didn’t see him. Then, my grandmother said, “Look, there he is.” He was racing to the bus stop wearing a full Santa Clause outfit, beard and everything. She said, “Run Forrest Run.” We all burst into laughter.

I remember my grandaddy used to eat raw onions like they were apples. He was a savage. He would sprinkle on a little salt and pepper and devour them. The way he ate them made me curious. I had to try it. I went to the refrigerator, grabbed an onion, peeled it, and sprinkled a little salt and pepper on it. I bit into that thing and felt sick. I was so mad. I tossed the onion in the trash and my grandmother caught me and of course I got a whooping. My grandaddy told me, “Take the trash out son, I’ll give you a dollar.” So I did, then asked my Uncle Charlie to walk me to Walgreens so I could get me some ice cream.

I remember – when I first had girl problems – moping around the house. My grandaddy asked, “What’s wrong, son?” I told him that I was going to break-up with my girlfriend. His response, “You only had one girlfriend?” I told him that you’re supposed to only have one girlfriend. He said, “Son, just imagine that you’re going on a road trip, and one of your tires go flat.” My eyes went wide, like I figured out what he was saying. I said, so I’m supposed to have two girlfriends grandaddy? He said, “Son, you’re listening, but you’re not paying attention.” So now I’m confused. He said, “What if every tire on the car goes flat?” I’m good at math and did my calculation. Am I supposed to have eight girlfriends? He laughed and said, “You’re damn right!”

I remember the day my grandmother passed away. My little sister and I were at school and our stepdad came to pick us up early. When we got in the car, he broke the news. I screamed at the top of my lungs. My little sister was confused and I repeated what our stepdad said. “It’s grandmother; she’s dead!” He told us that she suffocated. When we got to the house, my entire family was there. It was the first time I saw him cry. When it came time for us to leave my grandaddy asked me to stay. He didn’t want to be left alone. He said, “Take the trash out son, I’ll give you a dollar. There’s ice cream in the refrigerator. You can eat as much as you want to.” So, I took the trash out, he gave me a dollar, and I ate ice cream until I fell asleep.