The Peculiarities of Paw Paw

We all have someone in our family that has either a funny way of doing things or are just quirky enough to make others laugh without doing anything special. This is about one of those family funnies, my Paw Paw.

When I was a little girl, I remember vividly that my mom’s dad, affectionately called Paw Paw, had certain routines for different activities.

Picking Day
There was a garden out back. In this garden was a fence post and on top of this fence post was a salt shaker. I always wondered why this glass shaker with the tattered chrome lid sat so prominently on that post. One day I found out. When Paw Paw would go out to pick some tomatoes, he would always need to “taste test” the harvest before bringing in that days’ pickings. What do you put on your tomatoes? Salt of course! Rain or shine, there sat the salt shaker.. and to this day when I see one of these shakers, I have to chuckle at his routine.

Play Ball Day
My Paw Paw was a dyed-in-the-wool Detroit Tigers Fan. All the work stopped when it was time for the game. Day games or night games, the routine was the same.

Paw Paw had this old rickety padded rocking chair, you know the kind that has wide arms and made creaking noises with each rocking motion. He would turn on the TV set… but he would turn the volume off! In his left hand, he would hold a brown leather case that held a transistor radio. This was turned to WJR, the Golden Tower of the Fisher Building and home of Detroit Baseball. This scratchy sounding play by play was turned on quite loud. Now you may wonder why he would turn down the TV but listen to the radio. Well, when the Tigers would be having a bit of bad luck, or did something wrong – he would turn off the radio.. but didn’t want to miss the watching of the game. When he would calm down, the transistor radio would come back on and he would continue to watch the game in the only way Paw Paw could.

Proper Procedure
Paw Paw was a gentleman from Oklahoma. He was a hard worker and would rarely rest because there was work to be done. But there was one thing that he would teach us kids… the proper way to greet a grown up.

He said that any proper young lady or man should greet someone older than them is with a firm handshake and the proper salutation. You introduced yourself with your full name, who you were (how related) and then outstretched hand and gave a firm handshake. No “lazy limp limb” for us no sirree. Then you always called the men Mr. and the women Ms. Unless the person directly told you “you can call me Jim” you called them by the proper salutation.

To this day, my kids sometimes forget, and they immediately are given “the look” and are told the following… “Young man / lady, you were not raised that way”. The kids would immediately hold out their hand to shake hands and introduce themselves before the grownups, setting a good example.

Funny thing… my son went for a job interview and he walked in, stretched out his hand, shook the mans hand and introduced himself. He got the job. Why? The fellow said that out of all the people he interviewed that day, my son had the proper procedure! Manners.

Thank you Paw Paw!

– Genealogy Huntress


About Hunting Down History

Megan Heyl is a genealogist, researcher and teacher and has been involved in genealogy for many years.
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