January 2011

Musin’s and Thinkin’s

A Monthly Stroll Down Folksy Byways

with Jack Pendarvis

My grandfather may not have had a college degree, but I’ll tell you what he did have: a wife stitched together from brightly colored scraps of cloth and stuffed with straw.

I hate to say it, but America has gone pretty soft. We’ve lost a whole heap of that can-do spirit and old-fashioned ingenuity exemplified by my grandfather and his life-size rag-doll wife. I shudder to think what he would say about all the wild shenanigans and such they have going on today. I doubt he’d find much recognizable in our “brave new world.”

He’d probably say something like, “What is this, a tree?”

And I’d be like, “Yes.”

And he’d say, “Why, Sonny, in my day a tree had arms and legs and it wore a vest with golden buttons and sang a happy tune and walked around like this.”

And then I guess my grandfather would start walking around all crazy, like a tree might walk.

You know what? He’s right over there in the next room, watching TV. I’ll ask him. But I’m going to wait until Entourage is over. Gosh, he loves that show.

Several hours have passed since last I took pen in hand. Granddad and I had a long conversation, and in many respects he was no help at all. He kept claiming to like modern society “just fine” and finally asked me to “quit bothering” him.

I listed a lot of things from which we need to take back our country, such as salacious jitterbug contests, to which he responded only with his famous benign twinkle and warm chuckle. Infuriating! But that’s Granddad for you. And that’s why we love him.

I got out my marching-band cymbals and started smashing them together right near his head, so that his remaining wispy locks, of a blinding and glorious white, were buoyed hither and yon in the resultant breeze.

“What about that?” I said. “Wouldn’t you hate it if somebody was doing that?”

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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Jack Pendarvis has written three books.

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