Sunday, January 8, 2017


Granpaw Willie and Pepper

"There, there little Pepper.  You're just too little to go up to the barn with Granpaw.  One of these days, now, you'll see.  You'll be all big and strong, and those big ole' cows won't walk all over you, one of these days now, ya hear."  

Pepper continued to sob, big crocodile tears coursing down his cheeks, inconsolable. In his short life, he was already aware that his favorite person to be with was this gentle man who gave him time and attention. 

Granpaw wrapped his arms around his little buddy, a little boy who surprised him with how much love he drew from his ole' heart.  Barely two, Pepper wanted to go everywhere his Granpaw went, following him like a little puppy dog, he did.  Darn near stepped on the little guy hard the other day. Turned around at the store and there he was, right smack behind him.  Didn't know the little guy had managed to sneak away from his mama.  With them living in one of the apartments at the store, it wasn't too difficult for Pepper to watch for an opening to escape. He was a quick one.  
W. N. Meserve Store with Meserve home on the left 

Pepper was barely six months old when Imogene and Bob showed up, with nary a note or letter to tell them they was coming.  He and Pumble didn't really mind having their eldest daughter, and her husband come to visit.  It was plumb good to meet the wee grand kiddies, Sidney just a toddler herself. and this guy, just now wearing his big boy pants, already out of his dresses, but still not trained completely.

Granpaw wasn't too surprised when Bob decided to take the steamer back down to San Diego.  Somehow, him with his Engineering degree,  just seemed a bit too citified to stay in their sleepy little river town for long.  Now, he'd been gone for a year or better, and Imogene appeared to be settling right back into her childhood community, with two children that need a place to feel at home and a good bit of loving on, it sure seemed. 

"Say there, little Pepper.  Isn't that your Granmaw I hear, coming this way.  I'm thinking she just might be bringing a big molasses cookie with your name on it." Granpaw attempted to divert Pepper's attention, and extricate himself from two grubby little fists that were hanging onto his pant leg.  "See here now, Pumble Dear, don't you have a nice fat cookie for our little man?"

"Oh Willie, give the boy to me and get on over to the barn! Those cows aren't a going to milk themselves, you know!  Land's sake, you spoil this child something awful.  He thinks, well, he knows, he can get his way with you with just a trembly lip and those big ol' tears."  

Granmaw, known as Pumble only to her husband, takes Pepper by one hand, passing him a piece of cookie with the other.  "There you go, Sweetboy, there's a nummy cookie your ol' granmaw made, just for you, Pepper dear. That's a good boy now, you come on in the house with Granmaw and we'll find us a nice, soft place to sit and have us a bite, whilst supper's a cookin'."

Willie, at 63 as spry and wiry as he was in his 30's, took his time ambling on up the road to the pasture.  Still a good bit of daylight left, though the nip of fall was in the air.  Soon enough, it would be dark by dinner, and he'd need a lantern for the quarter mile or so to the barn.  He was proud of his modern barn, with electric lights, milking machines and especially grateful for the cement floor and the innovative system he installed for clearing the muck from the cattle stanchions. It was state of the art when he built it, and he was glad he saw ahead. 
Meserve pasture, barn, and hired man's house
Whistling a nameless tune, Willie lead the milk cows up into the spacious barn.  He called to his hired hand, George, to help him settle the cows in and worked to finish the milking quickly before nightfall. Carrying a pail of still steaming milk, he began the downhill trip to the house,  a little quicker now, looking forward to whatever his sweet Pumble would be laying on the table for supper.  


  1. Such a sweet memory, sweet story! Awesome photos! They say so much.

  2. What a delightful story, Sandi. I can see these people clearly from your description. I think it must have been in the forties or maybe fifties? Do I get to learn more about them? I sure hope so! :-)

  3. I didn't want this story to end. Loved the use of dialect, and the strong sense of place. I was there on that farm with those people who are the roots of you. That barn is something else. It must have been a glory in its day. One of the things I'm getting from these stories is how much love there was in your family - going way back. Pumble! My very favorite name of all time. I want it. :-)


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