I must tell you about a fellow by the name of Bob Dawson. I was just a boy when he was already an old man, but he was real funny and there were a lot of stories about Bob and I remember him well. Bob and my grandfather had been friends since childhood. When they were young men they pooled their money and started a small nursery. They grew seedling Hemlocks and sold them wholesale. At some point, not too far into this venture, Bob sold his share of the nursery to Grandpa but continued to work for Grandpa for many more years. They worked together and hunted and fished and were good friends.
The nursery grew (pardon the pun) and my Grandfather started buying tax delinquent property and building houses and he hired many men through the years, but none was ever a better friend than Bob Dawson. Bob and John (that was my Grandfathers' name) were alike in many ways. They both loved to coonhunt and fish and they both loved to work, though Bob didn't like to work quite as much as John did. Neither do I, for that matter. However, in some ways they were very different. Grandpa was conservative, politically and economically. Bob was not. Grandpa never touched a drop, bit Bob liked a nip of whiskey now and then, from what I understand. Grandpa didn't care one way or the other about music and couldn't play an instrument of any kind if his life depended on it. When he occasionally tried to sing, such as in church, he sounded, bless his heart, like a bullfrog.
Bob played the fiddle and the harmonica and the French harp and he sang quite well, though some of his songs were not meant for young ears or the faint of heart. Grandpa never gambled and only reluctantly played rummy with Grandmother sometimes. Bob played poker and not just for fun, if you know what I mean.
One day Bob was down at Griffie Mortons' store and he and Griffie were standing out front, talking and spitting tobacco juice. Oh yes, Bob chewed Red Man Tobacco all his life.
Well, Griffie asked Bob how he was doing and Bob said, "fine, jiust fine." Then Griffie asked Bob how John was doing and Bob said, "he's fine, too." Then Bob said, "ya know, Griffie, me and John started off even...... now John is way ahead ... and I'm still even!"
I will tell you more about Bob Dawson later on, but for now suffice it to say he was irreverant, maybe, but he was funny and one of a kind and Grandpa liked him and that's good enough for me.