Chas Kuhns 1916-2003
My grandpa died last night. Expecting that it was going to happen "pretty soon" didn't really help much. I spent this morning rooting around for photos, and I realized that I don't have that many pictures, but I do have a lot of memories.
Grandpa had a chin-up bar in Grandma & Grandpa's back yard. That back yard, by the way, was the all time best back yard to visit when I was little. I was entranced by the seemingly endless perfect grass, and the neat little borders of liriope. As I got bigger, the yard got smaller, of course, but in my mind it's still huge.
We used to play croquet in that back yard, with various aunts and uncles. Mom has two brothers and two sisters, so there were always lots of people at the grandparental gatherings.
Grandpa loved to feed the birds and squirrels. They must have known there was a safe haven in that yard. He could sit still forever.
The ThunderChicken was the coolest car ever--a big bright red Thunderbird with white leather interior. Huuuuge doors. Fins. I remember when he got the "horseless carriage" designated license plate. I think the car had to be 25 years old to qualify. My grandpa wore his driver's hat and played Jerry Clower on the eight track. I guar-onn-TEE! I always wanted to drive that car. When he finally sold it, I wasn't in a financial position to deal with the project that keeping it up would have been, and I've regretted that ever since.
Grandpa taught me how to saute potatoes and onions (patience, mostly). That became a staple in my college days. He also taught me how to hold a pool cue properly, which I used as often as possible to impress boys at school. I loved his stories of taking money from the frat boys at the pool hall down the street. They should have known better than to bet with an old man who brings his own stick. Really--how stupid can you get?
And of course, there's that genetic thing, that Magpie Instinct. It all started with him. There is a glass case/desk in the phone nook in the hallway. It was filled with coins. Later he collected silver and turquoise jewelry. He was a creative man, good at making things with his hands. My mental image of him is fixed at about ten years ago. I can still hear the sound of his voice, probably cussing or hollering, and his tremendous laugh--kind of a cartoony HAW HAW HAW noise. I hope I never forget that sound. It was good for the soul.
So, cheers to Chas, my grandpa. God bless him and keep him. Amen.