Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Christmas on the South Dakota Homestead. 1985

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Christmas time in the old country was the best time of year.  We didn't have a lot of money, but there were always presents under the tree.  There was good food on the table and lots of sugary treats. And there was always family.  In the early days, Grandma and Grandpa Leissman were regular Christmas time visitors.  They risked life and limb to drive to Rapid City from Bismarck, North Dakota.  It wasn't the frigid temperatures or the possibilities of Dakota blizzards that put them in harm's way.  They risked life and limb because of Grandpa Leissman's driving.

Grandpa and Grandma Leissman

Grandpa Leissman owned the roads he drove upon.  The entire road was his domain - left lane, right lane and both shoulders (to be used all at the same time if necessary to emphasis his point to any motorist who challenged his supremacy). He would occasional drift across lanes if he grew board with the right lane.  He also considered the fences and fields around the roads his. Off roading in his 1980 Chevrolet sedan was not unheard of, though never recommend in the vehical's owner's manual.  Grandma complained bitterly about his driving, but what could she do?  Grandma Leissman didn't have a driving licenses. She was always a driven woman - choffered to and fro her entire life like a lady of means and status.  Every Christmas I would pray and ask God to deliver them safely to our home.  And every Christmas we cried when they left, not knowing if we would ever see them both alive again.

In 1985 our small three bedroom home on 38th Street played host to a larger family gathering. I was visiting from Utah.  My sisters Kim and Janice were visiting from Colorado with their families. 

"Where are they all going to sleep?"  Charles worried.  Our Rapid City home was small by everyone's standards.  It had a miniature living room, petite bathroom (the second downstairs I won't mention.  Calling it a bathroom would be a stretch of the imagination), a freezing cold kitchen and a sliver of a family room converted into a long narrow bedroom for Kevin and Jon.

"Don't worry.  Things will work out," Luella assured him.  Luella was the person in the marriage who believed in 'the more the merrier'.  Dad was the family's "the glass is half empty" representative.  He sat in family gatherings with his arms and legs tightly crossed.  It was his comfort blanket, protecting him from the social situations his family thrust him into.  He survived the holidays by spending more time at his two jobs, the state highway department and running a few rural newspaper routes in the afternoons.

The years have dulled my memory so I don't remember where everyone slept or how we managed to handle the demands on the bathroom(s) but we managed.  We always did.  It was our Little House on the Prairie.  It was our time on the frontier.

Grandma Mattson holding  her Great Granddaughter Autumn Delgrosso.  

Some adults are easily recognized from their baby pictures and some are not.  I am not.  Attempting to find my 54 year old face in one of my baby pictures is a useless endeavor.

Yesteryear's Victor.  Where is the resemblance? 

I believe I've aged well.  I've transformed from the baby my mother hid behind his beautiful older sister whenever we were out in the public, or kept in the bedroom when company came calling, to the pleasant face you have today - free to enjoy at family gatherings - and at my home (with appointment of course). 

Look closely at Autumn.  Look at her eyes. You can tell its her, can't you? Today's Autumn Delgrosso Turley looks like her yesteryear's babyself.   Cute then and beautiful now.  Her husband is a lucky man and he knows it.  She reminds him daily.

This is Autumn's grandmother Luella.  Christmas 1985. 

There were times when even the Mighty Luella threw in the towel.  Here she is on a Sunday morning, dressed, ready for church and completely knackered out, collapsed in a heap at the front door.  This exhaustion was brought on from getting up before the crack of a winter's dawn to deliver the Rapid City Journal to dozens and dozens of homes in the surrounding Black Hills.  

Having to clean up, get ready for church and deal with a house full of children after having delivered the Sunday papers pushed her to the breaking point.  That morning we watched her melt to the floor.  We crossed our fingers hoping she would make the call.

Wait....... wait....... here it comes..........  Quiet, she's about to speak.

"I'm taking this Sunday off.  I'm too exhausted," she sighed.  "Someone help me up and to my bed.  I'm feeling quite poorly." 

At which point everyone in the living room volunteered to stay home and keep her company.

We love our mother dear.  Yes we do.  Some days more than others.

Ashley and Amber DelGrosso in the Williamson living room in Rapid City waiting patiently for Grandma's decision on venturing out into the cold for church.  Ashley is sporting her manufactured smile - good for most occasions, except when sincerity was required :)  Amber is waiting for someone to tackle her morning hair.

Nichole Burrows, Janice Williamson Burrows' eldest daughter shushing her mother back.  Amber DelGrosso stands behind her.  Nichole would have none of that "be nice to Grandma.  She's really tired" stuff.

Nichole was dressed to the nines for church and by golly, she was going to go to church.  These South Dakotan's didn't know who she was or the terror she could inflict during a Sacrament Meeting. Our small LDS ward was a fresh, undiscovered field - ripe for the picking. 

It was soon time for supper.  I know because it is dark outside.  There were good vittles at the Williamson home that night.  We're talking Safeway brand hot dogs, pork and beans and a nice healthy salad with Buttermilk Ranch dressing.  Sitting around the kitchen table are (left to right) Nichole Burrows, Forest Delgrosso, Lisa Williamson, Annette Williamson, Brandon Delgrosso, Amber Delgrosso and Ashley Delgrosso.

Forrest is shooting daggers at me with his eyes.  I stopped him from 'digging in'.  One had to be careful if you interrupted Forrie at meal times.

That poor kitchen table was rarely used.  The Williamson tradition was to eat your meals in the living room.  The kitchen table was there only to meet society's expectations that all homes have a kitchen table.   It was there for ceremonial purposes only.  The same was true of the kitchen chairs.  They could hold a child's weight.  Adults found them dangerously wobbly. 

You can tell the picture above was taken at a special occasion because of the hot dog buns.  Hot dog buns were a real treat in our home.  Normally hot dogs in the Williamson kitchen were nuked in our primitive microwave and served hot on a slice of bread.  We knew company was coming if Luella came back from the Safeway with real American hot dog buns!

Grandpa Charlie Williamson with one year old Jazmine Burrows.  Jazmine eye's speak volumns.  She wants her mother to deliver her from yet another person in that mad house wanting to hold, cuddle and pinch her fat little cheeks. 

Getting ready for the girl's holiday photo.  Luella applies makeup to eldest daughter, Kim Williamson Delgrosso.  Janice, having pawned her youngest Jazmine off to someone else, is giving Autumn a horsey ride.  It stopped when Autumn spit up on Janice's black outfit. 

Make up applied, it was time for the official Girl's Christmas portrait.  Left to right, Lisa, Luella, Kim, Annette, Grandma Violet and Janice.  The makeup job on Lisa was truly remarkable, completely hiding her look of disgust.  It just goes to show that anything can look good with enough paint. 

Christmas Eve.  Uncle Marvin Mattson in the Williamson living room with son Luke. 

Luke turning on the charm.  Mothers know how to pull 'cute' from their kids.
(that's Cindy's arm in blue).   

Marvin with wife Cindy and children Hallie and Luke

Grandma Violet Mattson with grandchildren Lisa, Annette, Luke and Hallie and great grandchildren Brandon, Autumn, Forrest, Jazmine, Amber, Ashely and Nicole.  That's Grandpa Charlie reflected in the living room mirror returning from delivering the afternoon Rapid City Journal.

"NO, I'm not smiling," Nichole is shouting to her mother.  Jazmine's got quite the belly.  Grandma isn't having a lot of luck with Luke and Hallie.

Grandma Violet with Janice, Kim, Cindy, Luke, son Marvin and eldest daughter Luella.  Grandma Violet was wore out by this time.  I had Brandon hold up a glass of ice cold water just before snapping the picture to get that awesome reaction out of Grandma Violet.

Finally, we celebrated Jazmine's first birthday before everyone returned home that holiday season. Does anyone have a picture of baby Jazmine looking at the camera?  Does she look at the camera today when someone takes her picture?

We had a great Christmas in that little house on 38th Street. 

I look at these pictures and think of where all these people are today. It reminds me of that great circle of life.  New generations are added as the old ones depart.  The lesson is to live each day to the fullest and be present in the moment.  


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kevin "Biddy Wid" Williamson Disappoints the Godfather

Kevin "Biddy Wid" Williamson was recently capture by the Omnipresent and somewhat intrusive GoogleCam (pictured below) as he stood outside the Vercellino safe house in a suburb of Los Angeles. Kevin "Biddy Wid" Williamson is wanted by the FBI and Interpol.  The photograph captured him completely unaware of the odd car driving slowly through his neighborhood.  He was conducting mob business with a member of the Cordova Family.  This photograph, published internet wide on GoogleEarth, compromises the safety of the 'Safe House'.     

Charlie "Lucky" Vercellino Williamson, Godfather of the notorious Vercellino Mafia,  called a meeting of the Vercellino Bosses to discuss his disappointment with his son.

"What he done ain't so good," he said during their meeting in the basement of the Pizza Factory in Lindon, Utah.  The Godfather spoke in a heavy accent - a mixure of South Dakota Lutheran with New York Italian.

"What we gonna do boys?"

 The Vercellino Bosses

"Cement overshoes, Utah Lake..... You catching my drift," said the dark, dashing, and secretive elder brother Victor, a lieutenant in the Syndicate.  He sat alone in the dark at a table enjoying one of the Pizza Factory's famous bread sticks.  He prefers to sit alone, always in the corner of the room furthest from the entrance.

"Come on Pop.  He done this before.  He don't think.  I mean, how could you miss a freakin car with a dozen or so cameras strapped to its top.  The guy's gotta a problem with connecting the dots.  He ain't the sharpest knife in the drawer - if ya know what I mean."

"He's your brother.  Shut your mouth."  Charlie "Lucky" Vercellino Williamson stood up and walked to the basement's window.  A summer's twilight wind moved through the trees outside the restaurant. The scene reminded him of his childhood in the old country - his beloved Deadwood.
"Biddy Wid is your mother's favorite.  You wanna upset Mad Ma Lue?  Not me.  I gotta live with her.  I'll pay him a visit.  Get me on the next train to LA."

"You got it Pops."  Victor jumped up, adjusted his tie and walked toward the stairs.  He stopped to check himself in the mirror by the door.  "Ain't nothin more beautiful," he mumbled as he took the stairs two at a time.

"Meeting adjourned.  Now get out there and make me some money."  Charlie "Lucky" Vercellino Williamson sat back down and waved the bosses away.  His soup had grown cold.  He picked up the spoon, dipped it into the soup and brought it to his mouth.  The basement was quiet.  It was his time to think.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Sabbath Birthday Year. Don't Expect Much from Me. Fair Warning

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
I start this post by thanking everyone for the many kind birthday wishes and expressions of hope that I'll make it to 55.  My staff and volunteers at the Space Education Center were the first to remind me with cake, cookies and a nearly tone deaf song that another year has been added to the staggering digit used to describe the number of revolutions I've spent circling our sun on this blue marble in space. There were other messages of sympathy sent by my friends in the National Sarcastic Society.   Yea, like I need them too.....

My birthday fell on Sunday this year.  I call birthdays which land on Sundays my Sabbath Birthdays.  When you birthday falls on a Sunday you should proclaim to your friends, family and business associates that you are officially in your Sabbath Birthday year.  They should regarded you as "resting".

 Here are my plans for my Sabbath Birthday Year of Rest:

  • I'm considering changing my shaving routine from daily to weekly.  I think I'll do the same for showering, deodorizing, and brushing my teeth.
  • On your Sabbath Birthday it is totally permissible to wash clothes monthly.  No one will object to the smells if they understand it is your Sabbath Birthday Year.
  • I won't wash my car during this special year of rest.
  • I'll show up for work right when I'm suppose to and clock out a few minutes before I'm suppose to leave.  Employers are typically more tolerate of laziness during your Sabbath Birthday Year.  I have the Department of Labor's toll free phone on speed dial if my administrator gives me any guff.
  • I'll exert less.
  • I'll eat more.
  • Exercising is limited during your Sabbath Birthday Year.  Running, jogging, swimming, bicycling, etc. are all to be avoided.  How can you honor your year of rest if your heart is beating excessively and your sweat glands are sweating?   Elbow and hand exercises are allowed as you reach for food, scoop up food and deliver food into your mouth.
I'm in negotiations with our local Gas Station / Convienience Marts on the issuing of special Sabbath Birthday Year Cards entitling you to half price 32 or 44 ounce Gut Buster Sodas delivered to you as you fill your car.   I'm also preparing a letter to National Council of Churches seeking a special dispensation for all Sabbath Birthday Celebrants giving them one year off from all religious obligations.

Its a far shot, but I'm asking for an appointment with my United States Senator.  I  hope to persuade him to join my crusade by sponsoring a bill giving all Sabbath Birthday Celebrants one year off from Federal taxes.

To summarize, this is my Sabbath Birthday Year.  Expect nothing from me of consequence until June 24, 2013.

Thank you for understanding.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kevin Williamson's Early Memories of Life in Rapid City. 1963 - 1965.

 Kevin Williamson

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
I have a special treat for you.  My brother Kevin was kind enough to take some time this morning and write a few of his earliest memories from the time our small family lived in a modest duplex on Signal Heights in Rapid City, South Dakota.

We moved to Signal Heights in December 1959.  Charles and Luella bought our duplex at 39 East Signal Drive for $14,900.00.  The house payment was $96.00 per month.  We rented out the other half of the duplex for $75.00 per month.  Charles and Luella used their old trailer for duplex's down payment.

Kevin was born on June 30, 1961.  Kim and I were both 3 years old at the time.  Charles predicted his third born would be born on July 1.  Mother went into labor on June 30.  She called the State Highway Department and left a message for Charles to come to the hospital at once.  Dad got the message, went home, showered, shaved, deodorized etc.  He wasn't in a hurry.  Had he not predicted July 1 would be the baby's birthday?  He had the faith of Job in his predictions, therefore there was no reason to rush.

"Is your husband coming?" The hospital nuns asked Luella.
"He's coming, he's coming," Mother assured them.
She wasn't a happy camper when Charles finally arrived. Kevin was born at 7:00 P.M.  Mother chose Kevin's name because Dad got to choose my name and Kim's.

Kevin was known as the mean "widdle kid".  Charles remembers coming home from work one day finding four year old Kevin pushing his newborn sister Jilane in a stroller toward the edge of the hill.   Charles and Luella got to them just in time.  Two more steps and Jilane would have had the wildest ride of her life - much to Kevin's delight.   

And now, Kevin's post on Early Memories from Signal Heights
1963 to 1966.


 Hello Family!

Vic and I were talking last week and I thought it might be an interesting idea to have more family members contribute to the ongoing history and saga that Vic has created. Don't get me wrong I don't think anyone in the family will ever be as eloquent with a pen as Victor, but let's face it,  if Vic does all the talking, future generations are going to look at our history and think the rest of the kids never made it out of first grade! And since I had to open my big mouth, Vic jumped on the opportunity to self nominate me first up. So here I sit at 7:30 A.M. on a Sunday morning staring out my window at the Hollywood sign. And yes, in typical Williamson fashion, that means I put it off to the last minute!

This all started from Vic and I reminiscing about our FIRST MEMORIES and thus the topic was chosen. So here goes!

Signal Heights!

For those of you who don't know, Signal Heights was the housing subdivision in Rapid City where we lived from 1959 to 1965. There were at least 100 duplexes perched atop this hill on the eastern side of Rapid City. I was born in 1961 and I will start then....

The Williamson Family's Home from 1959 to 1966

6/30/61 ... Memories. None-on my end... but I was told I almost died due to the fact that the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck twice.   I came out purple! Cool way to get the party started!

1963... I'm pretty sure that at about 2 1/2 years old I first started having real memories. In those early years the things around me played a crucial role of who I became. For the sake of time and my fear of boring everybody, I will break this down into categories.

1.Taste, Smell and Site .... One word "BIMBOS"!!!!!!!!

At the bottom of our hill sat this magical place where they made hamburgers that tasted like heaven!! This purveyor of tasty delight was called Bimbos! I know you're all asking yourselves why would Kevin bring this up as his first memory? Well let me tell you...First off, there was this big neon sign of Bimbo The Clown out front that fascinated me. Can you say Las Vegas!!
Secondly - the smell... You could be 3 miles from the joint and smell the deliciousness permeating through the more industrial side of town air.
And finally TASTE!! Sorry Mom but Bimbo The Clown had you beat hands down... How could anything be so delicious!! And it came wrapped inside a paper bag with this crazy looking half chef half clown on the front!!! And trust me, I would've gladly sold my newly born twin sister and brother (Janice and Jon) on a street corner for a Bimbo burger, fry and shake!!!

Sorry... Just keepin it real!!

2. Cardboard

Yeah that's right!! Cardboard!
Kids today got screwed with their iPods and video games!! I'm sorry, but nothing can beat a piece of cardboard, a grassy slope and gravity! Now this is where you separate the men from the boys. (The fore mentioned still applies to Kim). Just imagine this scene:   it's a warm summer day,  you walk to the edge of the hill where several neighborhood snotty nosed brats are staring at you with a look of skepticism. Kim, Victor and I know exactly what they're thinking. It's team Williamson. Are they bringing their "A" game today to the slopes? Nothing ever needed to be said because we were all about speed!! You see..we had a secret weapon - wax paper! It's all in the preparation and dedication.

 We would get up early and wax the bottom of our Piggly Wiggly lettuce boxes until they would shine in the summer sun.. This would give us that added 7 mph average we needed to conquer the widow maker!! To this day, nothing can match the thrill of hurdling your body down a steep slope with nothing but an eighth of an inch of cardboard under your butt! Just don't hit a rock because that becomes a religious moment in speech restraint...trust me.


3. Music..

I have one song in my head that will never leave.. Roger Miller's
"KING OF THE ROAD" I truly believe that song is why I'm in the music business today.  Dad played that song every day for months - and I still love it! Such a perfect melody, such perfect lyrics, such a perfect voice and such a perfect recording! That song instilled all those things in my head.


4. Transportation... The Mighty Rambler!!

Our car was a 1958 American Motors Rambler station wagon. That car taught me a very valuable lesson at an early age.  Transportation was not a right,  it was a privilege.  Half the time driving those early cars was a crap shoot on whether you would make it there alive! Imagine having to get a head start at the hill to get your speed up so you might be able to make it to the top... I could be wrong on this, but I seem to remember people having to jump out of the car while it was still moving so we could make it! Sounds crazy, but to this day that car brings fond memories. I will save the story about the hole in the floorboard for another time.

5. "There's a Bull in the backyard Mom"!!

To some this might not sound strange because we lived in South Dakota. Trust me, we lived in a nice neighborhood on top of a hill in the middle of town. Somehow this bull got loose and ended up in our backyard running around and not very happy! At that age, nothing was more exciting and memorable than watching your mom run around yelling like a crazy person at this equally crazy bull!! Awe...The Midwestern memories.

I think that's enough out of me today.  I found this to be a great exercise in going back and remembering things. I hope everyone will follow suit. Who's going to be next Vic??

Kevin Williamson  6/24/12

Monday, June 18, 2012

Over the River and Through the Snow to Grandmother's House We Go....

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
We have visitors at the Fortress tonight.  Uncle John and Aunt Bev have ascended the mountain bringing pictures of our 1971 trip to Grandma and Grandpa Mattson's home in 1971.  While I type, Uncle John, Aunt Bev, Luella, Jilane and Lisa sit in the Great Room talking.  Uncle John is extolling the vertures of owning a mule over a horse.  The conversation then moved from mules to near death experiences while on horses.

These horse stories, while riveting and well worthy of a post all to themselves, must wait while I post these pictures and deliver them back to Aunt Bev.

Thanks Aunt Bev for finding these gems and bringing them up for scanning and posting.  Remember, I'm always looking for older pictures of our family.  If you can trace your linage to Grandma and Grandpa Mattson and / or  Grandma and Grandpa Williamson, then please look for old pictures and arrange a trip to the Fortress so I can get them scanned before time and light bleed the color away.   

To Grandma's House.  Harbor City, California

In March 1971, Uncle John and Aunt Bev decided to visit John's mother and father in California.  They invited Luella Mattson Williamson (John's sister) to go with them along with her two eldest children, my sister Kim and I to go along.  

This last week Aunt Bev sent me an email saying she had found several old pictures of the trip.  Tonight in our family digital gathering,  Bev and I will share these pictures with you.

Kim, Luella and I on "Its a Small World"

Kim and I on the Tea Cups.  I remember being sicker than a dog afterwords

Grandpa Mattson, Luella, Kim, Great Grandma Vesta, me, Grandma Mattson, 
Uncle John holding Kirk.

Same as the picture above, except John and Kirk are in the picture :)
(Bev took the picture. We could have suggested she take a step back to get everyone in the first time, but her way of solving the 'group is too large to fit on the picture' worked fine :)

Uncle John handing his eldest son Kirk to his Grandmother Vesta

Grandma and Grandpa Mattson.  1969

Luella, Bev holding Kirk, Great Uncle Walter (Violet's brother) behind Kirk, Violet, Kim, me, Great Grandma Vesta and Grandpa Mattson.

Great Grandma Vesta (Violet's mother) with baby Gina and Grandma Violet Mattson

Great Grandma Vesta with her two eldest great grandchildren Kim and Victor

Grandma and Grandpa Mattson's home in Harbor City, California

Great Grandma Vesta holding Gina

Grandma Mattson with her mother Vesta and brother Walter

Uncle John with Great Grandma Vesta, Gina and Grandma Mattson

Aunt Bev with Great Grandma Vesta holding Gina and Grandma Mattson.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Our Grandpa Charlie on Father's Day

Grandpa's name is Charles.  His friends call him Charlie.  We call him Grandpa.  Grandma calls him Sea Bee.

Grandpa was born in Deadwood, South Dakota in 1936.  1936 was a long time ago.  1936 was a really long time ago.  I think it's almost 100 years ago.  It was so long ago that Grandpa can remember the day the great General George Custer came through Deadwood on his way to parlay with the Indians and ask them to kindly give the Black Hills to real Americans like his family -  the English German Williamsons and the Italian Vercellinos.

This is Grandpa Charlie and his Grandma Vercellino.  He doesn't remember her very well.  She died when he was a little boy.  One day she was sweeping her sidewalk and something popped in her head.

Grandpa would have been sad, if he were bigger. 

This is my Grandpa with his dad Charlie.  Grandpa was an only child.  His mom and dad didn't get along very well, and when Charlie was a young boy they divorced. 

Grandpa Charlie lived with his mother Elda in a small town called Belle Fourche in South Dakota.  They didn't have a lot of money.  They lived in a small apartment over the bank.  Their apartment had a small living room, a small kitchen a bathroom and a closet.  His mom slept on the couch in the living room and Grandpa slept on a cot in the kitchen. Life was hard in those days, not like we have it today.  We are lucky we don't have to sleep on a cot in the kitchen.

For fun, Grandpa Charlie liked to ride his bike up and down the streets of Belle Fourche.  They didn't have video games back then or a TV.   He listened to the radio and played records on his record player.  Grandpa liked music.  Grandpa liked to go to movies and play basketball and baseball with his friends.   

School was OK, but not that fun because they didn't have computers.  Teachers were meaner in those days and could spank you if you were bad. 

One day when Grandpa Charlie was riding his bike he saw a pretty girl named Luella standing outside Roxies Boarding House in Belle Fourche.  Luella and her mother were visiting friends.  They lived on a ranch way out in Indian country in Montana.  Grandpa showed off and did tricks on his bike.  Luella liked his tricks. 

"Will you marry me?" he asked her.
"Yes," She said. 

One day after they got married, Luella said, "Let's have kids."  
Charlie asked, "How many?"
"I want eight!" Luella said.
"OK," Charles said.  

Grandpa Charlie worked hard building highways to feed all his kids. 
"Put the road there," he would say to the workers.  Then he would say, "I want some money because I have eight kids at home and they have to eat and have shoes and clothes and go to school."

 This is my Grandpa Charlie today.  I think he looks like Abraham Lincoln.
Charlie just had a birthday.
I think he's almost 100 years old or something.

Grandpa Charlie works at WalMart in Orem Utah.  He parks his red pickup truck where everyone else parks their cars.  Charlie's truck is the best because he loves his cars and takes care of them and washes them every week, even if they don't need it! Everyone at Walmart stops to look at Grandpa Charlie's red truck.
"What a pretty red truck," the girls say.
"I'll bet it has a big engine," the boys say. 

Some Walmart workers don't take care of their cars.  Look at the dents in the silver car.  It makes Charlie sad to see cars not taken care of.  

This is another picture of Grandpa Charlie's truck.  See how it shines.  You can see yourself in the shine if you look real close.  Grandpa has a sticker in the back window that says he is a friend to police and gives them money.

The sticker gives him permission to drive fast and not get a ticket because the policeman sees the sticker and walks up to the window and thanks him for giving money to the police.

Grandpa Charlie is smart.

Grandpa Charlie likes to help people at Walmart.  Here he is helping a man fill a water jug. He missed a few times and got the man really wet.

Grandpa Charlie can't work the cash register.  It has a lot of buttons and stuff.  Buttons can be complicated.  Grandpa says he'd work the cash register if they let him, but they won't. They don't think its funny when he tells them that if he had to work the cash register he would put one dollar in the till for them and one dollar in his wallet for him.

Grandpa Charlie is funny.  He makes the people at Walmart laugh.  He says that if he wasn't there the WalMart workers would cry all day long because they don't make enough money.

This is what Grandpa Charlie does when he isn't filling water jugs or taking care of Walmart's plants.  He needs to get lots of sleep.  Remember, he is almost 100 years old!

This is Grandma Luella.  She waits for Charlie every day to come home from work with her broom.

"You get out of your truck and get to work," she says.  "I've been home all day and nothings got done."
She has a broom she keeps with her.  She points the broom at him when she wants him to do things. 

"Grandma doesn't drive so good so she's lucky she has her broom" Grandpa Charlie says. 


"Look at this lawn.  The grass is too tall!" Grandma says to Charlie.  "You get the lawnmower and cut this lawn!"

Grandpa Charlie does what he's told so   He has to raise his hand and ask permission if he wants to stop mowing the lawn.  Grandma will let him stop if he needs a drink or has to go to the bathroom.

Poor Grandpa Charlie - he always has to work.  And he is almost 100 years old! 

"This is my room, but you can use it if I give permission," Grandma says to Grandpa.   Grandpa Charlie can use the kitchen too.  Grandma follows with the broom to keep him moving.  

 One day Grandpa stopped to watch Grandma's TV.  Grandma brushed his ankles with the broom to get him to move.
"This is my TV," Grandma said to Grandpa Charlie.  "You can't use it because I don't like your tv shows.  You use your TV in your room, and don't turn it up too loud!"

 Grandma walked Grandpa to his room in the back of the house.

"This is your TV. You stay in your room and watch your TV.  Don't bother me if I'm watching my TV because I might miss my shows if you come out and talk.  So you stay in your room and I'll call you if I need you," Grandma said while pointing the broom at his TV.

Grandpa Charlie's TV is really small, and his eyes are almost 100 years old!   I don't know how he can see something so small.

"It's OK," Grandpa Charlie says.  "Grandma had these rock things taken out of her eyes so she needs a big TV."

Grandpa Charlie always thinks about other people.

This is Grandpa Charlie's one room.  This is where Grandma says he can put his things. Sometimes he sleeps on his couch when Grandma's breathing machine is too loud.   Grandma has sleep apna or something.  She can't get enough air when she sleeps and the machine pushes air into her.  I don't know if it works.  She always seems tired except when she follows behind Grandpa with her broom.

Grandpa Charlie likes to read books about money and Indians and South Dakota and medicine.  He wants to live forever and says one day he will be peeing on all our graves.  His books are in piles all around his couch.  Grandpa Charlie likes candy like Werther's Originals and Spice Drops.  He keeps his candy by his couch.  He can't taste things very good because one day he tripped on a curb and fell down and hit his head on a fire hydrant.  He had to have stitches.  Since then he hasn't been able to taste or smell anything.  He says it is the first time in his life he can enjoy Grandma's cooking. 

This is another one of Grandma's rooms.  Grandma has the living room, her bedroom, her bathroom and her second living room.  Grandpa can come in here to use his bathroom. 

This is Grandma's deck.  Grandpa Charlie gets to mow the lawn around the deck and take care of the plants so Grandma can sit outside and rest.

This is Grandma's Gazebo.  She likes to sit in the Gazebo's shade and think of things for Grandpa Charlie to do.   Grandpa comes out sometimes and sits in the Gazebo.  He says he is resting. Sometimes he falls asleep.

"Sea Bee, You get up now and get to work," Grandma will call from the house.

Grandpa will get up and work.  He likes to work.  He says work will keep him alive.   

Grandpa Charlie is a simple person.  Grandpa Charlie is quiet person. He is happiest after a long day of work when he can drive home in his truck, sit in his room, eat his bowl of chili and spice drops, read his book and watch his little TV.

Grandpa Charlie is a simple person.

Happy Father's Day Grandpa Charlie.