JQF….and the joy!


Sir and I

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

The man in the photograph is my grandfather whom we all called ‘Sir’…never ‘Grandpop’ or ‘Poppa’ or any other term of endearment that would connect him as our grandfather….it was always ‘Sir’! For the sake of understanding-in this photo ‘Sir’ is the ‘doughboy’ and I am the younger man being tattooed-the photos are to show how much we favored each other.
I’ve written a lot of things about Sir. I knew him more-and he was different from my mothers father.We were brought up to call him Pop Pop,his real name was Joseph Quinter Flickinger.
I only have certain images of Pop Pop in my memory. He was a large man with huge hands. He owned a garage where he was a mechanic-but he also did extra jobs like install washing machines (in those days they were the huge wringer washers-unlike what we have today) and he mowed lawns-a memory I regain every time I pass a freshly mowed yard seeing myself holding the chain on my grandfathers wallet and following along as he mowed to and fro along the lawns. There is one home which plays strongly in my memory-that of old Mrs.Smale. She was an invalid laying in a bed by a window and I remember being afraid of passing that window for that frail old lady would there looking out at you,and those little boy fears would scare you….she was probrebly glad to see a little boy.
PopPop had a way of putting the fear of God in you-he had a nack of being gruff,yet he also had this charm-but that gruff side was almost killer. He had ways of putting the wire handle of a fly swatter on your little boy butt that would instill a memory I aint yet shook. I believe I can recall about every time my rear end felt that wire handle hit-and crossing the street with the old man almost saw you with the socket of your arm seperated from your body. He’d grab you just between the elbow and your shoulder and nearly drag you across the street-none of our other relatives had such concern.
His biggest kick was the ice cream ride. Pop Pop would say “who wants ice cream”? and me and my cousin would immediatly say we do…and that old fart would drive us around the county and we’d see the A and W and yell out there it is! And old PopPop would say something critical about how he did’nt like so and so who ran the place,and on we go-and we’d see ‘The Cup’ and yell out there it is! And old PopPop would drive on by saying the old guy who ran the place sold melted ice cream. And we’d go on and there’d be the Boyertown Dairy Bar…same dang thing-and then we’d go home and PopPop would turn on the TVset and we’d watch Gunsmoke not quite being able to fully enjoy it because the memory of the ice cream trip was still in your mind-that hope! And sure enough during the last commercial break old PopPop would go in the kitchen and shovel out two big bowels of ice cream with a pretzel garnish and thats how we saw the end of Gunsmoke.
About six years ago I had an occasion to visit the old place up there and hooked up with my cousin and we got to talking about the old guy and the ice cream runs and other topics and he remarked that at least I got to go home (refering to the fly swatter pops on the butt) -he on the other hand was there all year round. I never really thought about it-but indeed that added a mystery to another part of my family and myself and indenity. This visit-my cousin being here last week,we talked more about it and I realized more than I ever did. Why it never crossed my mind before is interesting.
I have some old family movies on a video casset and during my cousins visit I suggested we take a look. To quote my cousin-the time watching them was a treasure. It was-especially seeing Dave jump up each time our grand parents came in view-especially each time PopPop came in view.
I got tears in my eyes. I had to leave the room and dry them off.
I cannot say when I saw so much love in a mans eyes as Dave watched and hoped for another segment with PopPop-there were also clips of his sister and parents and him as a toddler and his brother as a baby and many wonderful memories that ironically provided more memories for me for the future-seeing this man watching the screen as if he was a small boy seeing these things for the first time.
It came to me there was a life that my grandfather and my cousin had that was beyond what I knew and it was wonderful to have that revealed and see it in this mans eyes each time he saw his long passed grandparents.
Dave grew up only blocks away from our grandparents-I grew up across the state and away.
For some reason I inherited our grandfathers cuff links. I put them in a small tin and have kept them over the years-really I always thought they should belong to Dave,and this visit to my home in the woods they became his. On them is our grandfathers initials ‘JQF’ …Joseph Quinter Flickinger. The response was overwhelming.
People don’t understand me and money. My old boss even remarks that I’m the only person he’s ever met that has no interest in money. Its faith…thats what I have interest in,money has notta to do with faith. Seeing this treasure-the look in my cousins face as he watched this film and saw PopPop running bases around a ball park with his grandbabys-wearing a shirt and tie…perhaps those cuff links kept the sleeves closed and were in those old movies.
There is no money that buy such a scene-theres no money that can can pay to orchestrate such a vision…there is no money that can ever buy the joy that I had seeing this man so happy over seeing the grandparents he must of loved so much.
I am so rich because of being able to have given my cousin those cufflinks and seeing the joy in his face.
Money? Pooh!

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