What I can remember about my maternal Grandpa is pretty limited. He had come to visit us twice in Tucson, AZ when I was younger but I only recall the last time he came. When we moved to Missouri when I was 12 years old we moved to the small town where he lived, Oak Grove, population 900! I loved going to his house and just hanging out with him. I wish now that I had paid more attention to the stories he would tell me. When you’re a child you don’t realize the limits of time. He died the next year.
Everything about Missouri was different from Arizona. I was raised with cactus, mountains, sand, and hot weather in the summer and spring-like temperatures the rest of the year. Here it was green everywhere! Trees, grass, plants with beautiful flowers and farms with large green crops. It was humid for about 5 months and cold the other 7 months. The land was either flat or had small rolling hills. It was definitely a challenge for a young girl. Talking with my Grandpa made it all seem so wonderful. He found beauty in everything and he would educate me on the wonders of nature.
Grandpa Smith lived in town but he had over 5 acres for his yard. He had multiple fruit trees and a large garden. When I would go to his house I loved helping him outside. He had a few apple and apricot trees, however, he had 16 peach trees. I believe this is where I got my love of peaches from. I would help him pick peaches for his wife to make a cobbler with. Eating it was like a taste of heaven. One time my Grandpa wasn’t feeling well so he said I could pick the peaches by myself if I wanted, so I ran outside with my basket and began pulling the peaches off the tree. The next thing I knew I was getting stung by bees! I had stepped on a rotten peach that the bees were swarming on and they were taking their revenge. I ran screaming to the house and my Dad and Grandpa came running out. They started pulling the stingers out of my legs. My grandpa went in and got an ointment that he had made and put it on the stings and within 5 minutes most of the pain and swelling were gone. I sure wish I knew what was in it!
The greatest advice I ever got from Grandpa was how to plant vegetables. He told me to plant anything that grows under the ground, like radishes or potatoes during the dark phase of the moon and anything that grows above the ground should be planted during the full moon phase. I took it to heart because I saw with my own eyes the abundance of crops that he grew. When we moved to Hollywood, California I was amazed at how easy it was to grow any kind of plant. All you had to do was place it in the ground and it grew! Our landlord’s son attended UCLA majoring in agriculture. We got into a discussion about planting crops and I told him what Grandpa had said. He laughed so hard he couldn’t breathe. I was furious! I didn’t like him making fun of my Grandpa. So he made a bet with me. We would plant the exact same 4 vegetables in our yards and whoever grew the most vegetables would be taken out to dinner by the loser. He did it his scientific way and I did it according to the moon. I will just say I was treated to the best meal I ever had at the end of the challenge! My garden produced twice as much as his. My Grandpa’s wisdom had certainly paid off.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.