Greeting to all and welcome new friends to the EastWing.
My dad was born in 1904. He passed away in 1976. It was in those ensuing 72 years he lived, died, and had a full life of many adventures. A logger of part of the virgin forest of Eastern Kentucky. A moonshiner, a coal miner, a federal coal mine safety inspector, a welder of metal, a maker of boxcars, a preacher of the gospel according to the ways of the Free Will Baptist Faith. I always called him dad, but never preacher, ‘cause he was a father to me. Born just one year after the historic flight at Kitty Hawk, he cried with joy as he watched Neil Armstrong step upon the surface of the moon.
My dad was twice married. His first wife died when their only child was just ten years old, my oldest sister Thelma. He married my Mama and had five more babies. Me and my Sisters Three, along with a brother, James Arthur, who died with pneumonia before I was born, a brother I never knew. And so it was to be that I ended up with four sisters, a gang of five babies, me and Sisters Four. We were my dad’s babies, and he loves us all.
A special treat for this gang of five, there were three sets of Grandma & Grandpas. Grandma Viney and Grandpa Bob, from my dad. Lou and Grandpa Harlan, from my mom, and Grandma Emmy & Grandpa Riley, again from my dad’s first marriage. Actually Grandma Emmy and Grandpa Riley only belonged to my Sister Thelma, from my dad’s first marriage. But that didn’t matter any at all for the gang of five. We all had three sets of Grandmas and Grandpas and we loved ‘em and they loved us. We all had three, and loved it. Every minute of having three sets of Grandmas & Grandpas, we loved it.
Grandpa Riley was a Cherokee Indian, from the Cherokee Nation in Tennessee. He didn’t talk as much as my Grandma Emmy. They were both little people, Grandpa Riley and Grandma Emmy, just barely above 5 ft. if any, their children were also short people. They were the parents of my Uncle Millard, whom I’ve spoken of many times. Ya gotta remember my Uncle Millard, he was the feller at Tip Top KY who sold Cow Tracks for $375.00, but that’s another story for another day.
One of the most memorable stories from my childhood came from my Grandpa Riley of the Cherokee Nation.
An old Cherokee Chieftain told his grandson “My son, there’s a battle between two wolvers inside all of us. One is Evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority, lies and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and truth.”
The young brave thought about what he’d just heard and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”
The old Chieftain , as he looked into the eyes of what he knew in his heart, to be the future hope of the Cherokee Nation, quietly reply, “The one you feed”.
The wisdom of Grandpa Riley, Wow! Is that a message or what? Grandpa Riley, an old Cherokee Indian Grandpa of mine. I was taller than Grandpa Riley when I was in the 5th grade, not smarter, just taller.
Grandpa Riley and Grandma Emmy gave really good trick or treat stuff at Halloween. They gave Milky Ways. And so we went to their house twice, early and late. It was years later that I started to think maybe, just maybe, they knew we came back and trick or treated a second time. I think they knew, but they never let on that they knew. They just gave us another Milky Way and acted like it was the first time we were there. Grandpa Riley and Grandma Emmy, not rally mine, but oh yes, they were so much Grandparents of mine.
And all the while Grandpa Riley would say “If you don’t know what’s right, then it’s wrong” Such words of wisdom from my third Grandpa Riley of the Cherokee Nation. Right and Wrong, it’s worth knowing about. It was the life code of the Cherokee Nation. And it’s served me well in this life, so far. I think it’ll work forever. After all, it’s worked for the Cherokees, so far.
Ya know how things, groups of like things, have names for the group. Names like a flock of birds, or a gaggle of geese, a pack of wolves, a school of fish, a parliament of owls, a pride of cats. Names like that. Sophia reminds me of that “pride of cats” often. In fact, Sophia considers herself a “Pride of One” I’m not gona say too much about that anymore. “Cause I don’t know if one can be a pride. But she does consider herself a pride of one. And I’m not gona fight a pride of one about it one way or the other, ‘cause I just don’t know.
Are ya ready for this? I’m telling ya this is the truth and I’m not making it up just to tell a good story. A small group of baboons is call a troop, and a large group of baboons is called a congress. Now that does explain a great deal, especially in Washington D.C. With that being typed to the screen, Sophia damn near fell off the back of my chair laughing. She agrees, she so agrees. A pride of one, agrees on a congress of baboons.
Few things the cat and I agree on. That, plus the fact that even a broken clock has the correct time twice a day. A group of baboons called a congress, damn, now that’s funny stuff, I don’t care who ya are, that just funny stuff. Some things just make ya laugh. When Sophia and I agree, I laugh, along with the cat. Me and Sophia, we’re almost friends, even though we may have different political points of view, we get along, me and the cat. Sophia, a cat that considers herself a pride on one.
Now if you watched the presidential debates last Wednesday Evening, you know why Sophia’s strutting around the EastWing like there’s no tomorrow. When the President got blown away in the debate on Wednesday Evening, the cat says “We’ve just begun to debate. Bring ‘em on!” Damn Republican Cat.
Stay safe in Afghanistan.
From the EastWing, A Gang of Five, Three Grandmas & Grandpas, Cherokee Grandpa & Cherokee Nation, Sophia & The Baboons, A Pride of One, Sophia & A Presidential Debate
I Wish You Well,