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Grandfather Was A Tough Old Bird!!

The Hogansville Home News of Hogansville, Georgia

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I didn't get to spend many years with my grandfather because cancer took him when I was younger. The stories my grandmother would tell me about him kept me laughing, but she would always finish each story with, "Your granddaddy was a tough old bird and you're a lot like him."

Now, if you are wondering why in the world I'm writing about my grandfather, who has been dead for probably 50 years now, is because sometimes things happen to make you think about a passed loved one and some of the funny stories or heartfelt stories need to be shared. I'm sharing this story in an attempt to make people stop and think.

This memory came racing back through my mind at a function I had to attend recently to cover for the newspaper. Somehow, farming became a topic, and even though all the years I lived on that farm and wished I could get off, are probably far less than the years I've spent wishing I could return to it.

During the event, the old farm days became a discussion and I couldn't help but think about my grandfather. My grandmother was right, he was a tough old bird but I think that life and the farm had made him that way. But, as tough was he was, he had a good heart, but you couldn't tell that to a horse he once purchased.

According to my grandmother, my grandfather announced one day that he had found a racehorse for sale and he was going to purchase.

"I tried to talk him out of it," my grandmother would always say when telling this story. "You grandfather however, was a stubborn man and pretty much did what he wanted.

"We had horses and mules, but for some reason he wanted this race horse. So, he went and bought him and brought him back to the farm. The horse had spirit and he could run.

"On Saturdays, your grandfather would always ride a horse to town and every Saturday he was bad about taking a drink.

"The Saturday after he bought the horse he told one of our farm hands to go saddle up that horse because he was going to ride him to town.

"He had been drinking and I told him, you don't need to ride that horse to town. You've been drinking; just as sure as you get on that horse he's going to throw you.

"He looked at me with that look. When he was thinking he'd get this look and I knew he was thinking.

"After a minute or two, he said just how sure that horse throws me, just how sure I'm going to kill him."

Now you have to remember we are talking about the late 40s to early 50s here. Money was not easy to come by and, according to my grandmother; my grandfather paid $750 for that horse. Back then, that was a lot of money. Today, that would be the equivalent of about $12,600, according to DollarTimes.

She said a few minutes later the farm hand return with the horse all saddled and ready to go.

"Your grandfather always wore a pair of Colt 45s on his side and that day was no different," she said. "I told him, don't you get on that horse. He's going to throw you and you paid way too much for that horse to kill him.

"I knew he meant it to, that's the way he was. If he said something, he meant it.

"So, him, his bottle, his guns and the horse started off toward Shiloh.

"About an hour later, he came walking up the driveway to the house. I didn't say a word, I knew he had fell off that horse and I knew the rest of the story without asking.

"He walked up to the house looked at one of the farm hands and told him to go hitch up the team to the wagon, they had work to do.

"On Sunday morning, when I was getting breakfast ready before church. He comes into the kitchen, poured himself a cup of coffee, looked over at me and said, 'Fanny, I'm not going to drink another drop. What I did yesterday was stupid.'

"I looked at him and told him that I didn't believe that for a minute. But, he never did take another drink. So, it was worth the price that horse."

I don't mean this to belittle my grandfather in any way, he was a good man and helped others when he could and took good care of his family, but every time I think about that story, I can't help but smile a little. I also think if he couldn't stay on a horse while drinking what makes people think they can drink and drive a vehicle safely?



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Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015



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