Published on July 9, 2019

Loud screen door no match for little girl who melted grandpa’s heart

By Edward A. Forbes / The Bulletin

II started writing my stories because I wanted my grandchildren to know who their grandfather is. My father passed away the year my son, Wes, was born. They would have had so much in common. He would have taken him fishing and hunting.

These are things they both loved. Now Wes is the father of five, and he rarely gets to go hunting or fishing. This wouldn’t have made Wes a better man or father. He is a good man and a terrific father, but it might have given him a different perspective on many things.

My daughter, Chanie, was only two when my dad passed. He loved her and treated her as any grandparent does. He exhibited a great deal of patience and latitude that he never showed his own children. Isn’t that just a typical grandparent?

I will never be eloquent or plumb the depths of the human condition, but I will always try to be honest in my observations and characterizations. There are things to forgive, but not forget, for they cast the die from which I came.
It was 1983, and my father’s health had started declining with a rapidity that clutched my heart. I had started going down to his place in Matagorda every other weekend to visit and mow his lot in Palacios.

A lot that he would never get to build on. It had waterfront ready to be bulkheaded, but all he got to do was visit with his youngest granddaughter while I mowed. When we finished and drove back to Matagorda, we were greeted by older brother Butch, who had driven down from Houston.

We ate lunch, and the ladies (Chanie’s mother and Dad’s current wife) were outside visiting.

A little background here is necessary. The memories I have of visits to my Grandfather’s home were always punctuated by: “Dammit, Fannie, those kids need to quit slamming that screen door.” We heard this each time a child went out the door and released it at its apex with a resulting bang. This always irritated my Dad and was ignored by the various offenders.

As Dad, Butch, and I sat visiting, Chanie would come to the screen door, we would let her in, and she would do her one-year-old babble and then push open the screen door.

She would push it completely open and then release it with the resulting bang. Dad immediately said “Dammit, someone needs to keep her from slamming that screen door.”

All was quiet, and then Butch said, “Huh, sounds just like grandpaw.” We never heard another complaint from my Dad after that. He just looked pleased when Chanie came in and put her little hands on his knees and babbled at him, and then “Bang”, out the screen door she went. He suffered in silence for nearly a year of that screen door being slammed.

I think we all want to do as well or better than our parents, emulate the good and throw out the bad. That includes our Dads.

(Send comments by email to editor John Toth at john.bulletin@gmail.com. Or send regular mail to The Bulletin, P.O. Box 2426, Angleton, TX 77516)