Here Puppy... Want Some Beer, Puppy?

June 9, 2014

My Grandfather was a general surgeon, and probably one of the best ones in the Southeast.  He worked in New York at Ellis Island in the thirties for a short time, and did part of his residency at a prison in Hazard, Kentucky. Needless to say, he had a strange obsession with the Dukes of Hazard. Beyond his medical training, my Grandfather was an amateur veterinarian, meaning- he killed almost every pet that we ever had.  He also was an excellent farmer who studied gardening with a scientific enthusiasm.  He was constantly grafting dogwood trees to create a half white, half pink tree; and he had a small vineyard of grapes that he turned into scuppernong wine every year.

Imagine a cross between C. Everett Coop, Otis from The Andy Griffith Show, The Nutty Professor, throw in a dash of Billy Graham for good measure, and you will sort of get an idea about who my Granddaddy was at his core.  He was a magical creature put here to save lives and entertain small children and make wine for rednecks. Of all the people that I have ever met on this earth, he was truly my favorite.  I digress. The real story here is about the Jeeps that he would buy at the Army auction in the summers.

He loved junk and motors and tractors.  He could ruin a practically brand new Cadillac in three months flat trying to "work on it" with his pal Lawrence (pronounced Larnce).  One of Granddaddy's favorite things to do was to go to the Army auction and bring home Willis Jeeps. The first one that he bought was in the late fifties or early sixties when our family still occupied the front apartment at his hospital, which later became Holley House.  He brought the Jeep home and my mother and Aunt Charlotte decided to paint it. They wanted a red Jeep, not a green Jeep.  To remedy this, they procured some red house paint.

In front of the large front porch at the entrance to the house, they, with brushes, painted the Willis Jeep fire engine red.  Mother was probably around 9 or 10 and Charlotte was 15 or 16.  The stories I have heard recount that it looked like massacre had occurred!  The ole Willis had brush strokes on it and worse, the ground was covered in red paint.  So there, in front of the hospital, after the Jeep was moved, was a spattering of red paint that looked like blood.  Calls came in from all over town wondering who had bled out in front of the hospital.  It was the news of the week and I am surprised that it didn't make the weekly Brewton Standard.

Fast Forward about 20 years.  A new Army Jeep made its way to the farm and we were going to go try it out in the woods.  Granddaddy,  my step-dad Jim (Daddy), my mother, and I set out on a Jeep adventure. We were heading down the road to the lake when we decided to go off-roading. Let me get the story straight. Granddaddy, who'd had one or six beers, decided we would go off-roading.  In case you didn't know, protesting against drunk drivers is a fairly new thing; we thought that everyone rode in an open vehicle with no seat belts with their drunk relatives. It didn't really do much good to argue with Granddaddy, so...

Once we were off-road, we got stuck in a mud bog.  Granddaddy getting stuck in the mud and needing to be pulled out was a fairly regular occurrence and it usually involved cows or beer and sometimes both. Getting stuck wasn't enough;  he proceeded to flood the engine and stall us there for what seemed to be three days.

There we were, stuck a long way from anywhere- pre-cell phones, with no radio- and suddenly appeared a bulldog.  A big, upset, mean bulldog.  Granddaddy said "Looky there, I think that must be Larnce's old dog that went missing."  We couldn't tell if he was just hot or foaming at the mouth from rabies, but the bulldog's lips were covered with white slobber.  Great, I had just heard about the shots that they give kids who have rabies, you know, the ones in the stomach. The urban legend in my neighborhood was that it took over one hundred shots in the stomach to survive a rabid dog attack.  I wanted to be afraid of the shots, but I was laughing too hard at Granddaddy trying to ward off our attacker.

Granddaddy, against our judgment, decided to get out of the car and engage the dog.   In a voice that one might usually use to talk to a baby, or a kitten, Granddaddy proceeded to talk to the dog ever so slowly. "Heeeeyyy puppy.  How are you puppy?"  The dog responded with razor-like gritting teeth and a fairly scary growl, while working his way over to hem my Granddaddy up against the jeep.  Literally, backed into a corner,  Granddaddy responded by pouring out part of his beer on the ground for the dog while saying "Here puppy, niiiiice puppy, don't you want some beeer puppy?  Good puppies love beer. Sweeeet puppy, here puppy, have some more beer puppy." Granddaddy had this grin that only graced his face when he was being sarcastic. He would nod his head side to side while talking and smiling and doing that sarcastic "sweet" voice of his.

While Granddaddy was imbibing with the strange dog, Daddy had somehow figured out how for us to push the Jeep out of the bog.  He started the Jeep while mother and I pushed. Granddaddy was still holding the dog at bay with a hot Busch beer while we pushed. When we finally rolled by him, my Humpty Dumpty shaped Granddaddy jumped into the moving Jeep while running like his ass was on fire from what was most likely a rabid bulldog, who chased us out of the woods.

I would give anything to be stuck in the mud again with my best friend and a six back of cheap beer one more time. I think that I would even be willing to go up against a rabid bulldog.

Celebrate your fathers and grandfathers this week.
Love Y'all.

1 comment:

  1. OMG I can "see" this in my head! Doc was a mess but everyone that met him loved him. Every time I hear a Dr say there's no cure for the common cold, I always think of Dr Holley. Cause he has sure cured mine more than once. Sure wish I could remember what those shots of them sure made my hip sore. :)


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