My grandfather Ingram played shinny (Field hockey with a tin can and sticks, named after the part of our anatomy it punished.) with us and took us fishing and told us stories his father had told him about the 1849 wagon train to the gold fields in California. My picture of him is energy, positive, and fun.
But while we were living next door to my parents during their declining years, I asked Delphine, “Have you ever noticed that I seem to go through the house turning out lights but you never do? Yet you’re just as thrifty as I am. Why do I do this?”
We couldn’t figure it out, so I walked up the hill and asked my mom if she knew what was wrong with me.
She got a funny little look on her face. “Well, do you think it could have something to do with the way I am?”
No argument from me, so Mom told me a story.
“I came home from school and sat at the dining room table to do my homework. The day was cloudy, so I turned on the light bulb that dangled on a wire from the ceiling right over the center of the table. Soon my father came in, turned off the light, unscrewed the bulb, and stepped to the door. He threw the bulb out in the grass and turned back to me.”
“‘There!’ he said. ‘That’ll teach you to burn a hole in the daylight!'”
I just stood there with my mouth open and finally Mom said, “Guess you never knew about that side of your grandfather, did you.”