On this recent retreat, I learned that my buddy also smoked cigars. I told him he reminded me of gramps.......and he insisted I try one. I had never smoked in my life, but I tried it and actually, it was a good bonding experience. And as the smoke swirled around the back porch of the cabin.......I couldn't help but think of gramps.
Gramps was never big on advice. He was fun to be with and was witty with his responses. But, man, I miss him at times. I really wish my kids could have known him......so long as he didn't offer them any of "grampa's candy" aka chewin' tabbacky. My dad acts a lot like him....and I suppose I will too someday, although I don't plan to take up cigars.
He was struck by lightning when a teenager, out in the field while rounding up cows; he lost hearing in one ear due to it, which excluded him from military service. He told me stories about rubbing turpentine on cat's behinds and turning them loose to run down Michigan Street in Argos, Indiana, which evidently got quite a rise out of the dogs who chased them beneath the legs of horses parked with buggies. He also told me about moving privies a few feet back so that folks in the middle of the night would get a rude awakening. He also told me about putting a farmer's cow on the roof of their house once......that was hard to believe. I remember him at 78 climbing apple trees to shake the fruit loose, and at about 74, piling up bundles of shingles on his shoulder and climbing an extension ladder to roof his house.
So, I smoked a cigar in remembrance of a great character of a man. To you gramps!