P is for Pop Pops.
My grandpa. I didn’t see him often. He lived with my grandma in a rural part of Kentucky when I was growing up in New York. A small place that backed up to woods. His name was Henry Ezekiel Beckley but they called him Zeke.
He had this rough, twangy accent that rolled over you like crackling peanut brittle. I’d sit on his lap and when my mom wasn’t watching he’d let me have puffs of his cigarette. We’d play horseshoes out back. Sometimes we’d head down to the pond to go turtle fishing. He had a collection of shiny shells.
I never ventured outside there on a summer night. I lay in my bed listening to a ghostly hound baying under the moon. Pop Pop told me it was the devil dog that roamed the woods at night. Stay inside and he wouldn’t get you, Pop Pop said. I believed him.
He would take me with him to the Dead Horse Holler Tavern some times. An old place with peeling white paint. It looked like bird doo doo had been slapped on it over time. I’d get a Coke in a glass bottle and press it to my face, enjoying its coldness in the muggy Kentucky summer.
Pop Pop. Grandpa. Grandfather. Grandad.
My mom called hers Pappy.
My son calls one Pop Pop and the other Grampy.
Do you have a Pop Pop and fond memories? What was he like?